We’ve only been living with food allergies for three months in our family and have had a large learning curve. Have you heard that people with food allergies can react to simply coming in contact with the substance? Well… I knew it was possible but we learned the hard way today. It was pretty scary. We were in a rush when Alex finished breakfast this morning -he had cereal with milk. We got him down from the table without washing his hands or mouth like we usually do. He put his shoes on then ran into the living room to give Avery a hug and kiss – all on his own without prompting (so cute) and then they left.
A few minutes later I was looking at Avery and saw a bright red splotch on his cheek. It took me a few moments of critical thought (which is difficult before 9 a.m.), but I finally figured out it was the same cheek Alex kissed him on moments after eating. He even drank the leftover milk out of the cereal bowl, so I would bet his lips were still wet.

I wiped off Avery’s cheek with a baby wipe, gave a dose of Children’s Benedryl and put some hydrocortisone on it. It got worse before it got better. Within about 10 minutes it was a big red splotch and then the whole cheek got red. I started taking pictures to document it. I also got my epipen ready and stripped him down to watch for any other hives on his trunk. Luckily he didn’t show any other symptoms, but you can believe me that I was on mega-watch for the next hour until it started to fade out.

Although Avery didn’t seem bothered by the reaction, it certainly is something we could have avoided. Also, he is more severely allergic to egg and peanuts. I wonder how much more severe it would have been with one of those substances. (I’ve since learned that the most severe reaction to food allergies, anaphylaxis, rarely occurs from contact exposures like this, however it’s still best to avoid contact exposures whenever possible).
You can find more of my food allergy posts, tips & recipes on my Food Allergy page. I’d also love to connect with you on my Marketing Mama facebook page and twitter. This post, and all posts on this blog, are written from my experiences as a parent of a child with food allergies. I am not a medical expert and encourage you to consult with a doctor on your personal medical situation.
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16 Responses to “Allergic reaction to a kiss”

  1. Roxane B. Salonen says:

    Oh my, Missy, I can’t even imagine the stress you are enduring right now. From the outside, it looks like you are handling things like a pro, but it would be so hard not knowing for sure what sorts of things are going to trigger these reactions. Hug her tight, and nurture yourself through this as well. Hugs from Fargo…

  2. Amy says:

    How scary! I’m glad things turned out okay!

  3. Carmen says:

    Wow! That is intense!! I think I would have been borderline panicked! I am glad everything turned out ok. I am happy she has such an attentive Mama!

  4. Florida Girl In Sydney says:

    That’s quite a reaction for not having eaten it. My allergic to tree nuts child gets eczema but we don’t know what triggers it- though heat and grass seem to be a problem.

    But what I really wanted to tell you is– have you seen the Israeli study that was in the NY Times where they put nut powder onto food to expose allergic children– it’s been very successful– google it– very interesting!

  5. kristine says:

    Wow. The pictures are worse than what I imagined from what you told me. I seriously imagined this tiny little spot – yeah, not so much.
    I’m just glad it wasn’t egg or peanuts that it happened from.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Wow. It must make you think about all the encounters she had before you began to really notice and wonder about the symptoms she was showing. She is REALLY sensitive to the allergins, isn’t she? Wow.

    What did you think of the news last week about treating kids with peanut allergies by exposing them to small amounts of peanut over time?

  7. Becky says:

    Wow! How scary! poor thing. I’m glad avery has you for a mom though…

  8. Anna's Mommy says:

    Oh my goodness, what a scare. I’m glad your sweet baby is okay. What is so frustrating is that you can be so diligent practically all the time, but in one moment something like this can happen. From a kiss! Hugs to you all.

  9. heather says:

    I think I stumbled onto your blog months ago via lemmondrops. My 14 month old was just diagnosed with food allergies as well – milk, soy, and peanuts. He has a similar reaction to milk and soy. – immediate hives and redness. He has a much more serious allergy to peanuts but he’s never had them. I have the same fear as you. I wonder how he would react and what if I wasn’t there when he did. I will have to go back on your blog and read about how you are dealing with the allergies. Thanks!

  10. MissMVK says:

    Good thing Avery has a super mom like you watching out!

  11. LutherLiz says:

    Wow! How scary that must be. It must be challenging to have to be that vigilant.

  12. Rachel says:

    That’s way scary! I thought they could only have a reaction if they ingested it or inhaled something (like peanut dust). That’s really frightening. And poor Avery!

  13. Marketing Mama says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Fl Girl in Sydney — I always appreciate hearing your thoughts on the food allergy items, since you have personal experience.

    Rebecca – I did read about the peanut study as well as a number of critiques about the study including the type of nut powder they used… but regardless I’m glad to hear people are working on a cure and I hope they find one someday!

    Heather – great to see you here, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about food allergies in your family, but I’m happy to help answer questions or chat about my experience. Feel free to e-mail me at if you’d like.

  14. Jessica says:

    I had no idea. Thanks for enlightening me. I am sure this post will help lots of people should they run into a similar situation. Glad to see he is doing okay and had you there to think quick and take necessary action.

  15. Holly Tried It says:

    My daughter’s face used to get red and splotchy within minutes of eating peaches. Now, she has no problems with peaches but is allergic to peanuts. I’m optimistic that within 10 years they will have a treatment/cure for food allergies. They better! I want to eat pizza without ramifications before I die…hopefully much sooner.

  16. Anonymous says:

    My brother has severe allergies to all nuts, most grains, some fruits, hay, dairy, corn starch, etc.
    He is a picky eater too.they have to force him to eat most of the time.
    Potatoes, & rice, and cocoa pebbles rice cereal, and most veggies, and chicken, and steak, and fruit roll ups, and tofu, and serbert, and most sushi is what he mainly eats.
    It's very difficult to get him to eat most things…
    He has had seizures which have him in the hospital overnight. He describes it as "I was sleeping" so I don't think he gets in too much pain…My dads an idiot loves baking things like pizza and all sorts of bread WHEAT IS WHAT HE LOVES TO PUT IN THE HOUSE. though the doctors said that if my bro is that allergic to gluten, we all are. yet only 4/7 in our family are gluten-free. you have to be careful about everything. We've homeschooled him, and stuff so no more worrying about school. every where he goes he wears a phany pack with his epipen inside. We are insanely careful about his allergies.



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