Sunday, November 23, 2008

Red Cheeks in Children, Infants and Toddlers

My son's red cheeks were a concern of mine long before my son got seriously sick. And from the number of people who visit my blog searching for answers for their children's bright red cheeks, I would say that red cheeks are a concern of many parents. Although for many doctors it is a common, benign symptom, parents know that it is not normal and they suspect there is something wrong when they watch their child turn bright red on a regular basis. For my son, his red cheeks were a sign of food intolerance, inflammation and an underlying magnesium deficiency. And they were definitely a symptom of a profound underlying biomedical problem that needed to be addressed. I actually think his red cheeks were a blessing in disguise. If you have a child with red cheeks you know when they are reacting to something and you can do something about it.

My son also got a clear runny nose when he was reacting to something. Sometimes he even got a cough. It looked like he was always sick--only it cured up instantly when we eliminated the foods he was sensitive to using an ALCAT intolerance test and it came back immediately when we introduced the foods. It was quite remarkable and I am so grateful to the mother who showed me her son's ALCAT test. I knew immediately when I saw it that it would help Alex and I even got the test done for myself (mostly so I could compare our results and see how accurate the testing was.) Because it wasn't an allergy and he wasn't going to die from his red cheeks mainstream medicine wasn't able to help much, but an alternative doctor who has seen results using intolerance testing was able to help us pinpoint the foods that were triggering the
inflammation.

We tried to figure out the triggers ourself but it was impossible--and I am a pretty vigilant detective. I kept a detailed weekly list of what he ate and when his reactions occurred but it never revealed the triggers. When a child is reacting to one food it is easy to tease out
what is making them sick, but when it is multiple foods it gets more difficult. I kept on thinking that I could figure it out myself and then having little success. When I got the test results (and added that to our GF/CF/SF organic diet) he got better.

Related posts:
Allergic Red Cheeks

ALCAT Food Sensitivity Testing
Allergies and Food Intolerances
Red Cheeks in Infants in Toddlers

16 comments:

Heather said...

Hi there- I follow your blog, but I think this is my first comment.
I've set up a meeting w/an allergist for next month for Bri- we have been on the GF/CF diet for almost two years but never actually had any testing done. I already let the allergist know I wanted him tested for IgG and IgE reactions- what is the ALCAT? And do you have any other things I should know before going into this? Thanks for your time!!

(oh and my boy was a red-cheeker- actually still is so I know we are missing something)

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Melissa said...

Hi, I am also a fairly new follower. I am curious if the red ears are a sign of food allergies. My son when he gets the red ears he changes into a total different person. I am also curious what the AlCAT is? and where you can get the test done? We are trying to get him on a GF/CF diet but I am having a really hard time with it since here in texas there is no health food store. Any Advice would be great! Thanks you

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Our Family Is His said...

I have a 10 month old with milk and soy allergies. He's on Neocate formula (the only one he can tolerate). I think he has some other allergies (feeding him solids has been horrible for all involved). Do you think it's possible to do an IgG on a baby this young as a standard allergy test since he's too young for a skin stick test?

Melissa, you said you lived in Texas and there are no health food stores. Where do you live as there are many, many around. Where I live we have a smaller one, in the DFW area there are more than you can count (might be a bit of a drive, but might be worth going to a larger city once a month like we do).

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gfcfmom said...

Heather--ALCAT is a test that takes 10-150 foods and mixes each one with food then looks at the white blood cells for inflammation. You can see my post on ALCAT here or go to the Alcat site for clinical info here. Other things to know: gluten, dairy and soy won't show up on testing if you have removed them from the diet already. Realize you know your child the best, you have the most at stake and you can heal your child. The tests will guide you and hopefully the doctors will help you, but YOU NEED TO HEAL YOUR CHILD with their help. Here are other posts you should see:
What Parents Can Do
ALCAT testing
Not Getting Better on GF/CF

Good luck and feel free to email me at:
whattofeedyourkidsatgmail.com

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gfcfmom said...

Melissa,
Where in Texas do you live? Red ears are often a sign of inflammation caused by food allergies. You might want to read up on enzymes too in my post:What Parent's Can Do. When my son gets crazy reactions to food I give him enzymes and minutes later he is normal--this is one way to confirm that it is a food intolerance that is causing the behavioral reaction. I don't recommend them in place of a GF/CF diet, but in your case they might work well. And you might want to think about fish oil which is anti-inflammatory. It won't put out the fire, but it will lessen it. And if you have bloodwork done get a test for magnesium. Low magnesium can increase the histamine response. Other posts to check out:
Your Kids...Your Puzzle
Omega 3's in Fish Oil
Epson Salts

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gfcfmom said...

Our Family Is His-
Hmm...MANY, MANY allergy tests are inaccurate for young kids because the antibodies don't have time to develop. You could call ALCAT's customer service and ask them and you could call Dr. Fred Pescatoreand ask the receptionist to check with him and call you back. The only problem is that it is a lot of tubes of blood. Also, it wasn't accurate for gluten, dairy or soy. We had to remove those because of the celiac genes. What a headache. Let me know what I can do to help.
whattofeedyourkidsatgmail.com

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Melissa said...

We live in San Angelo TX. We are making our way down to Houston for Thanksgiving so I am hoping I can stock up on a lot of things. I need to get to work and make a list!! :-)

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hensonjazz said...

Hi.
I am just noticing the red cheeks in my almost five year old son regularly after eating. The only definite trigger is Ranch dressing. Also, he just ate some goldfish crackers, apple that had lemon juice sprinkled on and became very red around the mouth. Any comments? This is brand new to me and I'm not sure where to begin. Thanks for the info. on this site.

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Blaine said...

Check this out:

http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/allergytests.html

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Frau Guten Tag said...

I just found your blog by googling "red cheek food allergy in infant"; I'm sure you hear that a lot. My son just started this yesterday, after eating pumpkin pie baby food. I am hoping the red cheeks will fade, but will have to determine what caused them.....

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Caryn said...

I also saw red cheeks and ears in my son. We have done the IgG test, but have since learned that it is a flawed test due to sample contamination with mycotoxins. In our case we had a dentist who specialized in heavy metal poisoning suggest that it had to do with a metals issue. In our case our son's symptoms started within days of his preschool vaxes. Interesting enough, metal toxicity can cause problems with zinc and magnesium absorption and lead to food allergies. Am not 100% sure that this is definitely the case, but our son was already on a special diet when this condition presented itself. He's fine now. After several months and supplementation, we noticed that the red ears and cheeks went away. Can we say for sure what caused it and what cured it? Not really. Just thought I would share our experiences.

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Eowyn's Heir said...

How do I find a doctor to do the ALCAT test on my daughter? I live in Louisville, KY.

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treejohn572 said...

Red cheeks interesting. I guess that could be good in someways. If you are ever looking for a alternative doctor with different kinds of methods. This could help.

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Anonymous said...

Just curious, how long did it take for the red cheeks to clear up? I've eliminated all dairy, eggs, & gluten from my son's diet about a month ago and still noticing red cheeks. Am I being impatient?

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Shelby said...

Just found your blog!! Thank you! My son has bright red cheeks that come and go. They get hot and then will just suddenly look normal. We just did a battery of blood tests (with a naturopath) and found no deficiencies. We are awaiting the results of the ALCAT. I feel confident we are going to find the answers we are looking for. So glad I am not the only one. The doctors have been perplexed as one test after another ruled out everything they thought was the cause. We are a pretty much gluten free family, but I do allow him to eat it when we are out. I can't wait to find out what his allergies are so we can get rid of these Rudolph cheeks!

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Anonymous said...

ALCAT IS DUBIOUS. The test is not supported by research and is not considered to be a reliable medical diagnostic tool; since it has not been appropriately validated it is not a suitable guide for therapeutic decisions.[1][2][3][4][5][6] In a position statement, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy classified the ALCAT with other forms of cytotoxic tests as inappropriate tests, saying of them

"These results have been shown to not be reproducible, give different results when duplicate samples are analysed blindly, don't correlate with those from conventional testing, and 'diagnose' food hypersensitivity in subjects with conditions where food allergy is not considered to play a pathogenic role." Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALCAT_test

Also, be wary of this and any blog or person who uses the term "alternative medicine" with respect, for there is no such thing. There is only medicine and non-medicine.

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