For three years my husband and I battled with trying to figure out what was causing our daughter’s chronic hives and how to keep them under control. On good days she was just itchy and had some red hives, but on bad days it was horrible. She would literally vibrate with the itching pain and her lips, hands, and feet would swell and burn. In the beginning, we eliminating all fragrances, lotions, etc. from our lives with no improvement. Then we went to our pediatrician, who referred us to an immunologist, who did allergy testing. The tests did not find any conclusive causes and we left with a plan to give her an over-the-counter medication daily. The medication did keep the hives from getting too bad, so at least we had somewhat of a plan.
Then we started receiving phone calls from our daughter’s school. They said she was acting irritated and anxious. They said that they knew this was unusual for her, so they wanted to let us know and to see if we could do anything about it. My first thought was that she was having break through hives and I thought, “well, you try being covered in hives and see how irritated and anxious you become.” But then I calmed the mother bear in me and tried to get to the bottom of it. My husband and I did a little digging about the medication she was taking and found that behavior changes, such as irritability and anxiety, could be a side effect. We switched to a different over-the-counter medication and thankfully, her behavior was back to normal and her hives were still under control.
It was nagging at me that my daughter was taking daily or every other day medication for such an extended amount of time (three years), but I couldn’t let her suffer with hives either. At this time, I was in school for dietetics and attended a nutrition conference. One of the speakers presented on food sensitivities and MRT testing and my eyes were opened to the possibility of controlling symptoms with food instead of medication.
I did the MRT testing for our daughter and created her LEAP plan. I knew it was going to be a challenge, because while the 25 foods she was limited to during phase 1 were easy to prepare and foods that she liked, they were not easily found at restaurants and school cafeterias. I went grocery shopping and got ready. The day she started, I gave her the medication, made her breakfast, sent her lunch with her to school, and made a special dinner. The next day an amazing thing happened, in the morning when I usually gave her the medication, she did not have any beginning signs of hives. I decided to send her to school without the medication, but let the teacher know that I could be there in minutes if she started to get hives. I did not have to give her medication for months after that!
The LEAP Phase 1 is 10 days long, after that I began adding some foods back during phase 2 and still no hives. After a couple months of caution, I decided to see what would happen if she had some of the foods she is sensitive to. Now I have learned where her limits are and what she can get away with. I’ve learned that if she has a fever, she is going to have hives. I’ve learned that there are some special occasions when it is just worth it to let her have what she wants and take the medication. I’ve learned that when she is healthy, she can get away with a little bit extra almost every day. I’ve also learned how to create wonderful treats that she loves with the foods that are good for her.
I am thankful for MRT testing and the LEAP protocol!
Click the image below to learn more about Food Sensitivity Testing: