Thursday, December 11, 2014

Henry's Allergic Reaction

On Monday, I received the dreaded call from the school nurse. It's actually the first time I've ever heard from her. My kids always go off happily to school and return the same way so I knew something must have happened. She assured me that everyone was fine but that Henry was down in her office. She let me know that he had been out at recess and when he came in he had two spots on his cheeks that got progressively worse. I didn't think too much of it since I'm pretty laid back about most things involving the children. Then she emailed me a picture of him...

OMG, right?
What started as two small spots turned into enormous, swollen, warm to the touch welts. My poor little guy! Luckily, consistent with his personality, Henry had no clue that anything was even wrong with him. He felt fine and wasn't bothered by any of it.

So after lots of discussion with the nurse and his doctor the thought is that he has "cold induced hives" which is technically called Cold Urticaria. Who knew you could basically be allergic to the cold? In hindsight, there have been a couple of times that he had come in last winter where his ears were itchy and swollen but I didn't think too much of it. With sensitive skin and the change from cold to warm I feel like stuff like that happens. On Monday, he had a hat and gloves on so it was just his cheeks that were exposed and that's where the reaction occurred. It was also a cold day (maybe 30?) with a windchill.

So the treatment is for him to stay up in his room all winter and never leave the house. Kidding! The doctor recommended giving him Claritin or Zyrtec on really cold days to help prevent a reaction. He also needs to be bundled up with the least amount of skin showing as possible. So we headed to Target that night and I let him pick out some new winter gear. Of course, he picked out the most ridiculous hat which he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES so we went with it.

Why not, right?
So some meds, a crazy new hat, and keeping an eye on it are what we are doing for now. Hopefully, this was the worst of it but in severe cases it can lead to difficulty breathing and even require an epi pen prescription. Crazy, right? Never a dull moment with kids!

On the plus side, this situation only further proved what a great public elementary school my big kids go to. Henry's assistant teacher stayed with him the whole time, the nurse consulted with other medical personnel in town, and the principal checked in on him (Henry loved that he knew his name!). I also had follow up calls/emails with the nurse and Henry's teacher called me the next day to touch base. They handled an unknown and potentially scary situation so well and made Henry feel special. At the end of the day I had a healthy kid and a great school system - what more could I ask for?
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