Toodles has suffered from severe seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember. His first full spring (when he was ~10 months-13 months old) he already exhibited some allergy-type symptoms. By the age of 18 months his symptoms had escalated and we knew it was definitely allergies (the medical community will try to tell you that children can not have allergies before the age of 2. I disagree, only because I observed it in my child first-hand). Any time the pollen count ventures outside the "low" range, his eyes swell, his nose runs, he develops a cough and itchy ears, and his skin becomes irritated. We've used every OTC oral medication safe for his age, as well as Nasonex and Nasacort.
In May 2013, he was diagnosed with egg and dairy allergies. We took him for testing when we noticed that he had a skin rash and allergy shiners that would not go away. He would wake up each morning with clear skin. After breakfast, there would be a rash on his face and down his trunk. The rash would become progressively worse as the day went on, spreading to his limbs, but would be gone by the next morning. A simple skin test revealed a dairy allergy (which I suspected) and an egg allergy (which I did not). One week after eliminating all dairy, both obvious and hidden, the rash disappeared and has not come back.
(I'd like to note here that Toodles showed symptoms of a dairy allergy way way way back when he was exclusively breastfed. I took him to the pediatrician to discuss this with them, and was completely brushed off. I was told that dairy allergies are quite rare in EBF infants and that his symptoms were nothing to be concerned with).
Squish developed eczema at only a few weeks old. I assumed that it was just that--eczema, without necessarily having an underlying cause. However, he had a couple of other "red flag" symptoms. He clearly had symptoms of mild silent reflux. Also, I'll spare you the details, but let's just say his stools were not "normal." After struggling for the first year of Toodles' life trying desperately to help him sleep and wondering why he was so irritable and wakeful, I was not taking any chances with Squish's happy, easygoing disposition. I eliminated dairy from my own diet. This was not difficult, as we already kept dairy items out of the house for Toodles' sake. Removing dairy from my system helped clear up the eczema, but it still wasn't gone. The hubs and I decided that, before introducing solid foods to Squish, we should determine what, exactly, might be causing the symptoms. His skin test, however, showed nothing. In typical Squish fashion, he sat still and smiled through the test (his brother had wailed as if he were having his fingernails removed), and his skin showed no response to the scratches. Nothing. This was great news, but was also confusing.
After discussing the results with his pediatrician, she suggested that he might have MSPI. She offered us the name of a pediatric GI and we made the decision to simply keep dairy out of our entire family's diet, and to limit soy.
Wow, I'm sure that was boring to read. My apologies for the novel, but I wanted to put the background info out there in case anyone wants more info or is struggling with allergies in their own family. I've done a good bit of research on this stuff, so feel free to holler if I can help in any way.