MOMENTS WITH ME3 {Life of an Allergy Mom}

In August 2012, my husband and I were vacationing with our 5-year-old daughter and 21-month-old son. It was our last night at the resort and we decided to have dinner at a ‘nicer-than-usual’ place, decked out with the dreamy white tablecloths and napkins arranged in an orderly fashion. Almost suddenly, our son threw up at the table in a dramatic fashion as soon as we sat down! Scurrying to clean up his mess, I remember feeling guilty for our son soiling the once perfectly white linens at the table. I rushed out to the car and buckled him in, at this point, thinking it was a simple stomach virus. When my husband joined us at the car, he exclaimed “Look at his lips!” We saw that our son’s lips had doubled in size, now turning a bluish shade. That night, my life began as an allergy mom.

By the following fall, we had learned that our son had two forms of food allergies: an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergy to fish, and an Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) allergy to eggs and dairy. The IgE allergy to fish required us to carry an EpiPen everywhere. His EoE allergy to eggs and dairy requires very strict dietary avoidance, along with a daily dose of a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medication (which in his case is Prevacid).

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Our son’s course of treatment has not been flawless.

We have been to three different allergists since this journey begun. Once we were given some clinical advice that caused him to have EoE inflammation, making our child more susceptible to stomach viruses! As a result, he became very ill the week before school, had to be hospitalized for IV fluids, and missed the first two weeks of Kindergarten. I regard this as one of the worst times of our lives; but it’s a reality we face everyday.

After my son’s hospitalization, we began seeing a different allergist who provided us with a new, personalized treatment plan. Thankfully, our son has been in remission for more than two years now! Even better, he has outgrown his IgE allergy to fish. As I think back on my past six years as an allergy mom, I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned:

  • If you are not happy with your allergist, get a second, third, even fourth opinion! You and your child should feel comfortable with the specialist providing care.

  • You will spend a fortune on allergy-friendly foods that your child will not eat. Don’t take it personal and get creative with your healthy snack alternatives! There are some great hacks. I personally have never recreated an egg using aquafaba or flax seed, but I have found some great substitutes like bananas, avocado, pumpkin, and applesauce. Each child is unique and so is their appetite.

  • Sometimes it is better to go without than to use substitutions. For example, My son prefers a ‘cheese-less pizza’ to one with the “fake or artificial” cheese.

  • Always be prepared with alternative snacks for trips or play dates, and make sure your child’s teachers are stocked with allergy-friendly snacks for your child.

  • It’s okay to be “That Mom”! No one will advocate for your child like you will. It’s okay to ask lots of questions. It’s okay to ask to see the manager or the chef at a restaurant. This is your child’s health at stake! You don’t have to accept “I don’t think so…” or “I don’t know” when it comes to your family’s needs.

  • And finally, STOP APOLOGIZING! You don’t need to apologize for bringing a treat for your child at a birthday, or for asking if you can bring your own side dish at a family holiday. Your child has absolutely nothing to apologize for, and neither do you!


• Are you an allergy mom or dad too? What are some things you have to take into consideration when it comes to your child’s diet or overall health?

• How can schools and community facilities be more considerate of children with unique needs, like allergies?

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Elizabeth Kovacs is a therapist with Lake Norman Family Therapist. She is active in her community including serving as a Past President of the Junior League of Charlotte and active in her church. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

Ashley Hunt