While the morning started off with the excitement of many new visitors to this blog, the mood quickly turned to fear as we were sitting down for breakfast and my husband was putting my daughter into her high chair.
“Did you see her face?” he asked, startled.
“No. What is it?”
“She’s red. She’s red all over.”
I turned to look and sure enough, she had large red patches on her cheeks and across her nose.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know,” he replied.
We went into Parent Panic mode with a little Crisis Coping clicking in. I told him to undress her to see where else she was red. Arms, especially forearms, wrists and elbows. A little on her shoulder. Nothing on the torso or back. But also on her knees.
She wasn’t having trouble breathing, she wasn’t fussy and didn’t seem to be bothered by it. But we were somewhere between Freak Out and Quiet Hysteria.
We checked our medicine chest for Children’s Benedryl but couldn’t find any. Then I grabbed the phone and called our pediatrician in Anchorage to speak with a triage nurse. I knew it wasn’t an emergency but also couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
As the nurse and I went through a litany of possible causes, my husband held our daughter and examined the rash.
Was it the blueberries or raspberries she ate? But she has had them often.
The vitamin drink we gave her? She has that every morning.
The diluted orange juice? Nothing new.
Hugging the big Black Lab? But she does that all the time without a reaction.
“Can we feed her now?” I asked, our breakfast getting cold on the table.
“Yes. She is laughing and isn’t in distress. No fever. Sometimes we just can’t explain why a child gets a rash,” said the nurse.
I asked what should we do in case she went into anaphylactic shock. The nurse assured me that she wouldn’t – if it was going to happen, it would have happened a while ago.
“But call 911 immediately. Don’t call us,” she instructed.
After we hung up, I told my husband that we need some emergency plans for our household, just like companies do them. We agreed that if our daughter had gone into anaphylactic shock, calling 911 wasn’t the solution in Tok. We could just drive her less than a mile to the Tok Clinic faster than it would take to get an ambulance over to us.
“It’s starting to go away,” my husband announced, looking at our daughter.
Sure enough, the patch on her left cheek was slightly smaller.
We again ran through everything she had eaten and touched this morning.
She had been sitting near a spot where my husband cleaned up after the Chihuahua and used copious amounts of chemical cleaner.
Because we felt confident we had isolated the culprit – and it was an external irritant – we followed the nurse’s instructions to bathe our toddler in warm water with 4 oz. of baking soda. By the time she was out of the bath, the rash was virtually gone.
I was still shaky inside as I sat back down to finish my breakfast. And I’m determined to replace all of the toxic chemicals and cleaners in our house with non-toxic ones.
Are you using non-toxic cleaners? What are you using?