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Project Allergy 1 Year Anniversary

We revisit the health of a child taken off of asthma medicines due to depression last year.

June 12, 2009

As we approach the one year anniversary of the launch of ProjectAllergy.com, I want to reflect on March 28th, 2008. That was the last day my son took his allergy/asthma medicine and steroids for his life-threatening allergies and asthma. I still can not believe that more than a year has passed since he has been med-free. It was a leap of faith for the asthma specialists, his pediatrician, as well as the psychologists, but it was an even scarier decision to make as a parent.

His asthma and allergies were getting worse, and he was taking more and more medications. However, the treatments he was taking, including decongestants, steroids, and allergy medicines were creating thoughts of severe depression, mood swings, and anxiety. As a result, the decision was made to remove him from all medicines. I was petrified how his body would react. Could he breathe? Would he have another severe asthma attack?

After just a few days off the meds, he broke out into full body hives. If you have never seen this before, it is the condition where many small hives group together to form super duper nasty hives that cover the entire body. From his scalp to his toes, his back and stomach were covered in raised red itchy bumps. It drove him absolutely crazy. We gave him Alka-Seltzer Gold, which neutralized the allergens in his body, bathed in Epsom salts, and he took round the clock scolding hot showers. Our water bill was so high that we qualified for special assistance from the local water company for medical reasons. After several weeks, he was rushed to the emergency room with anaphylactic swelling of his face and throat. The doctors gave him steroids and urged us to put him back onto a particular drug that he had been taking since the age of 2. Within a few days, the hives dissipated, but his depression and anxiety returned. What is interesting is that even my son, as itchy and miserable as he was, did not want to be medicated. He could tell the difference between being on the medicines and not taking them. At 10 years old, he is a very wise introspective little boy and refused to take the medicines. The second time we removed the drugs from his daily regimen, the hives did not return.

Every month this year, I would take a deep breath and ask myself, would this be the month he will need his medicines again? In the back of my mind, I always thought the shoe would drop, and he would be really ill with asthma and allergies. Today, I am happy to say that he has only had to take some over the counter allergy medicines a few times and his rescue nebulizer treatments twice this year during a bout with the flu. Why is this I wonder? Were the medicines counter-productive? Was his immune system so suppressed by the steroids? Either way you analyze the decision, it was the correct decision.

Last year my son was severely depressed, anxious, and moody. He was frequently in the principal’s office for rude behavior. He had only one good friend, but no one else. He spent days on the computer and never really ventured outside. He quit travel soccer; refusing to play the game he loved because he felt so tired. He rarely ate anything. He hid under his covers and had terrifying nightmares.

Today, off the daily regimen of steroids and allergy meds, he is a totally changed child. He is polite and really funny. He eats regular meals and sleeps without nightmares. Most importantly, he has over 10 friends from school and frequently plays in the neighborhood. He rejoined soccer and loves it. He is more relaxed and has not had one angry outburst at school or at home. His teacher noticed that he is truly making efforts in class and is admired by his peers for his sense of humor and bright insight. He has not been in the principal’s office, nor have I been called to come get him! I get hugs from him all the time.

In an effort to reach out to other people going through similar situations, ProjectAllergy.com was formed. Our site has grown so much since it’s launch, May 12, 2008. We have over 138 national restaurant allergy menus, 135 unique allergy-friendly specialty food brands, 50 airline and hotel allergy policies, 16,000 + visitors a month from countries we’ve never even heard of, 315 allergy and asthma support groups to reach out to worldwide, and many other news links.

We have connected with many parents from almost every country from around the world. We tell everyone our stories in the hopes that we can save others the heartache of living through what we've had to endure. If you have a story to share, we'd love to hear from you. Join the discussions in our forum, and help us to help others.

Together we can make a difference,
Janet, co-founder
Project Allergy

Please note, you should consult your physicians before discontinuing any prescribed medicines, especially those for allergies and asthma.

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