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My Son Is Suffering Chronic Sinus Congestion, Asthma

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It seems reasonable to me that my son is suffering from food sensitivities, and intolerances the same way I am. He developed asthma about two years ago and and has been suffering from chronic chest and sinus congestion for at least 5 years. His pediatrician wanted me to put him on antihistamines long term so I tried it, but they didn't bring him much relief. We've also tried all the over the counter stuff such as zyrtec and claritin but they bring little relief as well.

Now that I KNOW I am suffering from several food intolerances/allergies, it seems to follow that he too may be having problems. He looks small to me and constantly has dark circles under his eyes. Over the past year constipation has been a huge problem for him as well. I am very concerned! I have only known about my own issues since January, and since then through doing a lot of reading I've come to realize how much food can affect us.

The bottom line is I need to have him checked, but I'm afraid his pediatrician isn't going to know what to look for or might be uncooperative in some way. I guess I'm on the defense here, but one would think that pediatricians would look for food intolerances immediately in a child suffering chronic allergies and asthma. It just seems like a no brainer to me after all the research I've been doing.

I wanted to completely cut some of the biggest food offenders out of his diet, including gluten, to see if it made a difference after a couple of months. I have cut dairy, wheat, wheat gluten, peanut butter, and soy out of his diet at home, but I can't control what his dad feeds him because his dad won't cooperate at all unless a medical doctor says it is appropriate. Basically because it is my idea, and his dad doesn't respect my ideas, I now am being forced to find proof via a medical doctor. This is scary to me based on all the negative feedback people are reporting regarding their board certified American Medical Association doctors.

I need advice and information if you have it. Maybe there are good suggestions on how to approach my son's pediatrician? Or maybe someone knows of a good doctor or allergist in Austin? Thanks in advance! Oh and if you have ideas on how to get the cooperation of his dad that would be nice too, but I know that is a tall order!

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We have similar issues with foods, allergies and sinus problems. We have finally gotten back some control and are enjoying much improved breathing as a result of:

1)getting allergy tested

2)environmental control

3)nasal rinsing

4)removal of foods from the diet


and 6) allergy shots(we'll see how much it helps)

Being gluten-free did nothing for our nasal issues. I've had a lifelong problem with dairy-GI symptoms and possible skin. Eliminating it on my own unexpectedly cleared up my nasal passages quite a bit but wasn't enough long-term to keep me satisfied. Nasal rinsing for years helped alot too-warded off infections and kept me off antibiotics but again, wasn't enough. Allergy testing revealed a strong dustmite allergy for me so pillow encasements AND mattress encasements(I tried just pillows but wasn't helping enough) laundering ALL the bedding every week and sheets in hot water every week made that last big bit of difference. But I need to do ALL of the above faithfully.

I tried nasal rinsing with kiddo and he wasn't willing to be consistant enough to make a difference. Environmental control measures weren't much help either and meds prescribed by our former allergist weren't working. I wondered about foods because of my experience with dairy. So we got him tested and decided that it was time to go ahead with shots. His environmental load is significant and he's strongly allergic to many things EVERY season so never gets a break. My sister is similar but hasn't been tested and hasn't had shots and just gets worse every year. We hope the shots will prevent DS from getting to that point. So far the specially blended nasal spray is working well. He's happpy with it. I would prefer not to use so much meds but I have to conceed on that point.

When you are inquiring about allergists, ask if they are willing to run and regularly run extensive food panels(like 80-100). Our former allergist would if asked but not usually and really didn't believe in them. He dismissed positive results. Also ask if they believe in dietary changes even if the results are not to the point of causing an anaphalactic reaction. That was our former one's stand(no changes)-not someone I could work with given my son's positive blood and skin test for wheat. Our current allergist has patients conduct an elimination/challenge diet folloing testing, with all the foods that they show a positive reaction to. We are doing that right now. I noticed that my son had dak circles under his eyes the first few days we re-introduced corn. I will do a second elimination trial with that ingredient later to see if we get the same or another reaction. Then we'll decide whether it goes off the menu or gets rotated to only once in a while. Ask about the testing protocol. I like the fact that our new allergist doesn't just put them all on in one shot for the skin testing but based on background they puddle some serums on the skin, then wait and then prick to check. And they may do a few at a time before proceeding to the next ones. This all especially if stronger reactions are suspected. Look for ones that advertize more individual care or maybe accept fewer patients in order to do so. Ask if they are aware of celiac disease. I don't know that I would be comfortable asking them to DX it, but our runs gene tests through Prometheus labs, which is well respected and since they are well informed about celiac disease I feel that they may understand these dietary issues and unique challenges.

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We all fight the allergy battle at my house, and as in Missy'smom household, it usually isn't easy to do. You have to take environmental stuff as well as food into account, and determing culprits then how to handle them is tough. I think finding the right allergist is really key. The one that helped my son prided himself on being the best around in dealing with food allergies, and our children's hospital sent us to him. (I went to our children's hospital feeding clinic not for allergies but because of my son's fear of new foods, and they were smart enough to say that it was going to be tough to deal with his fear until we knew what he should be afraid of. I mention this because maybe a call to a nearby children's hospital would help you get some leads.)

For my son, the allergist asked what my son ate (which unfortunately wasn't that many things) and tested him for those. He tested positive for a number of his frequently eaten foods, so we only let him eat the ones he was not allergic to for a while, then added them back in one at a time. I kept a diary and we used a 1- 10 scale for his symptoms. It was a long process, and I could not have done it on my own.

And even after all the food work, we still take meds and swear by saline nose spray. You don't mention how old your son is, but my childrens' allergies, though still requiring treatment, have definitely improved with age. Hope you get the answers you need soon.

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I agree. Get him tested. Start with an allergist. The tests, though not always fun, are easy and you can leave the office with hopefully some answers about actual allergies. Kids with allergies often have what we call shiners under there eyes. And his allergies will also trigger his asthma. I'm not sure where you live but if you google "find an allergist" you should be able to find one in your area. If his allergies end up being environmental, allergy shots are always an option to help control his symptoms as well. If his symptoms are food related, food allergies can also be tested in the office. Some MD's will have a blood test done (RAST) as well as skin testing. However, food intolerance is a whole different ball of wax. If allergies are ruled out then go back to your pediatrician and ask about testing for celiac disease. If he/she won't do it, find someone who will. Taking him off of gluten prematurely will alter his tests and you will have to put him back on for a month in order for them to be accurate.

You are your child's best advocate! I unfortunately have learned it the hard way. A lab test was missed by my daughter's doctor two years ago. Because I am a nurse I started investigating and found she had a blood test drawn that was positive which would have led to her celiac diagnosis in April 2008. I trusted the Dr. when I was told all was negative. In January 2010 I found the result and immediately got her in for an endoscopy to confirm celiac. She has been on a gluten free diet for three weeks now and feels so much better. I'm not telling you this to get you not to trust the medical community (as I am a member). Always ask for copies of results and don't be afraid to ask questions. It often takes a week or so to get most blood results. Be patient but you haven't heard from your child's MD in a week to ten days, call them.

As for your son's dad, he will come around if you have the medical community supporting you. Although not perfect, most doctors have your child's best interest at heart and will help your find answers.

Good luck! And hope you get answers for your questions!

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