Sunday, January 11, 2009

Signs of Contamination

There are 8 things we watch for to see if Barrett has been contaminated:

1. Behavior. Shortly after he eats something bad he becomes a basket case. My sweet little boy turns into a nightmare. He whines because he can't zip his jacket up and when you help him he cries because he wants it off. He quits paying attention to what he's doing so he trips a lot. Normally when he trips he says, "I fall down," and goes on his way, but when he is contaminated he sobs and sobs or else throws a tantrum. There are also times when I suspect seizures--he blanks out and doesn't respond for 10-20 seconds, but I can't tell if he's just spacing off or if they are really seizures.

2. Sleep. He usually wakes up several times in the night afterward. Sometimes with a poopy diaper or upset stomach. But sometimes he just gets up and plays and talks to himself and gets really hyper.

3. Diapers. We pay attention to a lot of things with diapers. Frequency, volume, content, smell, and acidity. He usually has 4-5 bowel movements after contamination that are large in volume, contain undigested food--and smell absolutely horrible! They are also very acidic but I'll get to that in the next one.

4. Diaper rash. His diapers after contamination are usually pretty acidic and he gets burn rashes all over. He usually tells me his "bum hurts" immediately after passing a BM. It's difficult to clean off and usually requires rinsing with water so it doesn't continue to burn him.

5. Stomach Cramps. This can be hard to tell. It was a relief when he finally learned to say, "Stomach hurts!" so I knew for sure. I think when my baby gets stomach cramps she just cries out suddenly or twitches side-to-side a lot. She is also really gassy and often gasses or burps after she has been twitching or crying out. I am assuming the reason is that it hurts her stomach.

6. Bloating. Sometimes after he eats food he shouldn't his stomach bloats, but not every time. I haven't been able to figure out at what point it bloats or what exactly causes it. It's just something we have seen happen on more severe contaminations.

7. Eczema. After being contaminated sometimes his eczema on his ankles flares up. I haven't noticed it lately though. My theory is that we've finally managed to eliminate all of the allergens from his diet. Hooray!

8. Loss of Appetite. After contamination Barrett rarely asks for food and usually refuses it when we offer. If he does it it's only bites of what is given him. It used to stress me out because he is so skinny, but I learned that he doesn't digest the food anyway. It just comes out in his diaper and gives him cramps and a rash so he is better off not eating much.


  1. You have tons of information here, Michelle! I really hope you can get this all figured out for him, I can't imagine how frustrating it must be/have been for all of you, dealing with this!!!
    Looks like you're doing a great job so far!

  2. I stumbled across your site unexpectedly this afternoon when doing a good search about food intolerances to chocolate. I just spent a couple hours readin through all your old posts.... It is so nice to know somewhere else has went through this. Everyone thinks I am crazy when I tell them all the things that bother my son. The symptoms you describe are the same we have... Horrible diarrhea and diaper rash caused by it, sleep issues, behavioral issues /meltdowns, zoning out. People tell me that stuff can all just be normal behavior for a two year old. They think I am depriving my kid. Gluten and dairy are DEFINITELY problematic for us but still hashing it out... Now think chocolate is a culprit. Which is so sad because he LOVES gluten free brownies. :( not sure what alternatives there are for chocolate!