Saturday, December 17, 2011


     A few weeks ago, we discovered small red spots on Katie's skin on a Sunday night. We weren't sure what they were, but they got worse after she had a bath and then continually spread. Monday morning, it was INSANE! Almost her entire abdomen and back were one big red splotch, and under her arms, her neck, and behind her knees all had red spots. We decided to call the doctor to find out what it was. We had a few theories: allergic reaction, although we couldn't think of anything new that she'd been exposed to that day, heat rash, possibly from being all wrapped up in layers lately due to the cold, or something like eczema or psoriasis. Brad made an appt with the doc the next day but Tuesday morning, almost everything had faded. By the time we got in for our appt, it was completely gone. The doctor showed me some pictures to try and figure out what it looked like, but none of the pictures looked like what Katie had and she also didn't have any other symptoms! She was not itchy at all, not fussy, eating normal, happy as ever, no fever or cough or anything. He gave me a prescription for some hydro-cortisone, which I never filled because she wasn't itchy.
Flash forward 2 weeks. It's Monday afternoon/early evening, and I notice the spots have returned. Little at first, and then escalating after her bath. Tuesday, it had of course gotten worse and I was able to get into the doctor again that afternoon. He took one look at her and said, that's hives. I also took some pictures just in case they vanished before we got to the office. Her back looks much worse (and it looked WAY worse the first time this happened), but here's one of the pictures.

     Anyway, he was pretty surprised that they didn't itch or bother her at all. He gave me some samples of Children's Dimetapp to give to her once every 6 hours until they were gone. He also gave me a scrip for a liquid Zyrtec or something in case it became chronic. Then he gave me a referral card to an allergist (that Brad and I actually already know personally) in case we want to have her tested.
I spent the rest of the day trying to make connections between Monday and that first Sunday. I couldn't remember what we'd eaten for dinner, but I knew that she had had Goldfish crackers in Nursery at church, and I had given her Goldfish crackers when we were shopping at Target and Costco on Monday morning. Katie used to eat Goldfish ALL THE TIME, but I hadn't purchased any in months, when I thought about it. It was the only connection I could see between the two days. Fast forward to a couple of days ago. Sadly, before I linked the Goldfish, I bought one of those huge boxes of them from Costco. I hadn't given Katie any since then, but I kept them on my nightstand to snack on. (They are one of my favorties snacks, if you didn't know.) Well, one morning I decided to let Katie have a few to see what would happen. She had a good handful and then sure enough, hives appeared a while later.
     Do you see what i'm getting at here? My baby is allergic to Goldfish!!!! If you know me very well, you will know what a tragedy this is! Obviously it's not the goldfish themselves, but something in them, but still. Sad day.

     I've narrowed it down to three ingredients:
  • Annatto: A spice used for coloring the cheese. We are white cheese eaters around here (provolone, mozzarella, parmesan, monteray/pepper jack, etc. . . ) and so she doesn't have orange cheese very often. Although, she's had Mac n' Cheese many times in the past without any problems.
  • Autolyzed Yeast: Used for flavoring I think. I don't think it's in many foods that Katie eats, and it seems weird that she might be allergic to this, an extract of yeast, when she isn't allergic to normal yeast.
  • "Spices": The Goldfish ingredients list just had the word "spices" with no other clue as to what they are.
     After this last time her hives appeared, we actually had 4-cheese Rice-a-Roni with dinner without really thinking that it might have the same ingredients as the goldfish. (This hives thing is brand new to us, Ok?!) After she'd already scarfed down a few handfuls, I checked the box and sure enough, it contained both Annatto and Autolyzed Yeast. It also had a few different spices in it. And her hives stuck around for a few extra days.
     We're still debating on whether to get her an allergy test or not. I don't like unnecessary medical stuff, and the hives don't bother her at all. I decided to buy some regular cheddar cheese at the store and will give her a a little bit once her hives are completely gone. If they come back, i'll know it's the annatto. If not, well, maybe we will call up that allergist.

Whoa! WAIT A MINUTE! I was just about to post this when I decided to do some more digging on Autolyzed Yeast. Did you know that it is essentially MSG?! What the heck?! I actually just read this article where it states that autolyzed yeast and MSG can trigger allergic reactions in some people. I think now I may be leaning more towards the yeast factor. I don't give Katie many processed foods, or Asian foods for that matter (since a LOT of Asian foods add these ingredients) so maybe that's why she's now getting hives.  I'll keep you updated.