DR’s egg allergy was diagnosed in October of 2014. While we were devastated, we were also motivated to cut out all egg products immediately. It was very much a learning process as so many products we do not think about contain eggs.
About 3 weeks into our egg-free diet, we had a scary reaction. I was baffled, as I was sure he did not have any egg products. I called my husband, Justin on the way to the pediatrician’s office to ask if he knew of anything they could have added to chicken salad that would cause this reaction. There was a pause on the other end, and then Justin calmly said “Well, mayonnaise is made out of eggs. Everyone knows that.” No, not everyone knows that, and even those who do, don’t always think of it as an egg product. I had never made mayonnaise in my life, and I hardly ever used it except in potato, tuna, and chicken salads. The day before I had fed him tuna salad. Couple that with the school lunch of chicken salad, and his poor immune system was under attack.
For weeks I beat myself up over this incident, but I learned to be even more vigilant. We scoured every ingredient list we could find. We researched every food item that could possibly contain eggs. We were prepared for any food question. We were prepared!
Or so we thought. When you think of food allergies, most people only think of food products. We were in that mindset, until one day when I went to pick up DR from school and he was covered in hives. We looked over the food list that day, and as we were doing so, a new teacher from one of the older kid classes approached me. During recess, one of her students had passed pieces of chalk to DR. As a one year old, his initial thought was to put it in his mouth. The teachers caught him half-way through the piece of chalk, and washed it out of his mouth. No one thought to check the ingredients, though, until he started breaking out. Believe it or not, the non-toxic chalk being used in the school was made out of eggs. This prompted us to look at other non-food objects like crayons.
Another random incident with packing peanuts, brought us to the realization that these bio-degradable items could also be made from eggs. As the list continues to grow, I become less comfortable with the world around us. I have become a hover-mom, never letting him out of my site, constantly checking to see if he’s chewing on something. I feel that even with all our hard work, we will never win.