Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ethan, hives, and a detergent conundrum

Ethan woke up yesterday morning just covered ears to ankles in hives. The poor kiddo looked like he had one bad bumpy sunburn. He's not allergic to anything that I know of and hadn't eaten anything weird, rolled on any grass, or done anything different.

Except, I did just start using a new detergent this week, and the pajamas he wore the night before were likely the first out of that load that he'd worn.

The odd thing is, the new detergent is All Free & Clear, the stuff that has no additives, perfumes, or dyes--I buy this for Cameron who has horrible eczema outbreaks this time of year--so why Ethan would be allergic to this is beyond me.

Dan was on shift but got permission to swing by our house in the ambo and give Ethan a shot of benadryl. {Ethan wasn't happy about that.} It did decrease the itch and I was able to schedule an appointment with his pediatrician for later in the morning.

Now by the time I finally got to the appointment with Ethan and 2 daycare kiddies {after having a 'duh' moment and realizing the office had moved...everyone back in the car, kids!} Ethan's hives had all but vanished so I pretty much felt like this was all a waste of time anyway. The hives were gone, I was pretty sure the detergent was the culprit, and the kiddos were missing their naps. But just to be sure, I kept the appointment.

A wasted hour later, we left the ped's office with no new information, no prescription, nothing but the knowledge that I was going to have to figure out how to use one detergent for Ethan and another for Cameron.

So what advice can you give me? Is there any middle ground here? Or do I just need to keep Cameron's clothing, bedding, towels, and everything separate from Ethan's wash loads? This stuff ain't cheap, so I hate to waste the whole thing just to try various other brands, but maybe that's what I need to do.

And why the heck does the "Free and Clear" promote allergies in my son?!


Christi said...

You might try making some home-made laundry detergent. I know it sounds extreme, but it really isn't that difficult. That way you have better control of what is in it. This is the recipe I have used before but there are many others.

It's an idea.

Anonymous said...

My idea is that the free and clear is free of manmade scents and dyes. That probably means there are way more natural occuring scents and dyes to make up. He may be allergic to one of those. Sorry to hear of the outbreak, but glad he's okay!


marisa said...

Our kids have excema as well and I have to use different detergents and soaps in the house. I've used free and clear in the past with no problems but your son may be reacting to something in it.

I wouldn't give up on it just yet, maybe something else triggered the reaction. Or if you think it's that then maybe an extra rinse? good luck

Michelle said...

Our dermatologist recommended using only Dreft with no fabric softener for my son who also has eczema. Unfortunately, I do his laundry separate from the rest, but it does seem to help him.

Hope you find something that works for you.

Jenna said...

I bet that was a sight! I have no advice, but it sounds like others do, good luck!

jinxi~ aka angi said...

Poor kiddos.
If I knew the answer to this my right shin would no longer have the red itchy rash its had for the past year straight. Ive tried everything, switched everything. To no avail. The only thing that clears it up is steroids and they arent good for you on a continual basis. We use and I like All-Free, but my husband insists that since Im still breaking out that we go with Purex Free since its about half the price. Im going to look into that homemade stuff. And an Allergist.
Good luck and let me know if you find any answers!

Sitting here itchin'... Ang~

Lorie said... sounds like it was the detergent, but I would give it a second shot (with benedryl on hand) to make sure. Maybe not PJs that will get him head to toe, but a pair of shorts? Or just a shrit. Let him wear something on the other half you haven't washed in the new detergent yet.

If it is the detergent then I would wash everyones stuff in the cheaper detergent and just do Ethans clothes in the ALL...or try to find a detergent that works for both.

Or just stop washing laundry all together and let everyone be stinky!

Cecilia said...

This happended to my family several years ago. I had really bad back acne when I was in high school so my mom was told by my dermatologist to switch to All Free and Clear.

A few weeks later my brother started breaking out in these huge welts on his arms and a mild rash on the rest of his body. He was on a swim team and water polo and every time he swam it got worse. My mom tried a bunch of stuff and nothing helped but one cream made the itching and burning stop. A few months later I went to college and she went back to their regular detergent and his rash and welts got significantly better in several weeks.

I had a roomate several years later who was also allergic to every detergent under the sun and only one worked for her but I can't remember what it was. She broke out in hives if she even borrowed a sweat shirt from someone who used one she was allergic to. I just use regular detergent but do a second rinse and that works for me.

What worked for us was moving out or doing our own laundry but I know that won't work for you. :)

Best of luck. I would cut the All Free and Clear (it is expensive) and see if there's something that would work for every one. Also if your machine has a second rinse you could try that and just use the minimum amount of detergent.

First time commenting. Love your blog.


Natalie said...

So sorry about the hives. Not fun at all for your poor son. Hope you figure it all out soon.

Amie said...

Thank you all!

Cecelia, I tried to comment back but was denied. LOL.

The odd thing, is, this is the first time Ethan has had any kind of outbreak. So I don't feel like I necessarily have to find something special for him. The regular All, Tide, everything we've used in the past has been fine.

I had only gone to the Free and Clear as a precaution to make life a little easier for Cameron--my son with exzema--but if I just stay on top of his topical ointments, he'll be fine too.

In the meantime, I'll probably go back to Tide for Ethan and the rest of us, and use just Free & Clear for Cameron until it runs out.

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