We really try to avoid taking Bo out to restaurants after a bad reaction he had a few months ago. Just to give you a quick bit of background info here’s what happened or what we think happened. I had Bo out to eat for lunch with friends and other little ones. I wasn’t too worried because I had just always thought that Bo couldn’t ingest dairy, egg or nuts, but as long as we kept those things out of his mouth he would be fine. So, we were having lunch and there was plenty of dairy around the table, but I am almost 100% sure Bo never eat any of it. He wasn’t really interested in eating and what he did eat was maybe two bites of a plain chicken breast. Toward the end of our lunch, Bo got down from the table and was wandering around the restaurant as any 1 1/2 year old would, touching every chair, table, high chair in sight. He pulled himself up on a high chair at our table and right after that I noticed he was attacking his chin and itching like crazy. He started getting white hives that were slowly crawling up his face. I knew he was having a reaction, so I did what we normally do and started by giving him a children’s benadryl and wiped down his hands and face. The itching was growing more intense, he was really fussy, his nose was running like a faucet and he couldn’t stop sneezing. I thought maybe the benadryl was just not kicking in yet and that soon he would calm down and we could get home and all would be fine (we only live about 5 minutes from the restaurant). Once I had him in the car, I kept looking back at him and noticed the hives were getting worse, he was turning a brighter red, and he just looked like he was struggling and maybe beginning to have difficulty breathing. I knew this wasn’t right and this was definitely the worst reaction I had seen. Luckily, I had two friends in the car with me that encouraged me to go with my instinct and to call 911. I called 911, pulled the car over, pulled Bo out and jabbed him with his epi pen. This was our first experience with the epi pen. It was quite amazing how quickly the epi pen kicked in and worked its magic. The itching stopped, the redness and hives all faded and the ambulace was there to take us to the hospital where they would monitor Bo for a few hours to make sure there were no reoccurring reactions. So, needless to say, that was a really scary day. What we concluded, with the help of our allergist, is that Bo is so sensitive to dairy that he can’t even TOUCH it.

Back to the original point of my post, we don’t eat out a lot after our most recent incident. We’re just not ready to risk it. We do, however, have a couple of ‘takeout’ spots that we feel somewhat comfortable with – Subway, Chipotle, McDonalds and Pizza Luce. We definitely know it’s a risk anytime we buy food prepared by someone else, but we have had good luck with all of these spots thus far. At every spot we make sure to alert them of Bo’s allergies and we ask them to change their gloves before they make our food.

Here’s what we are comfortable ordering:

Subway: White or wheat bread, veggies and ham or turkey.

Chipotle: Taco with rice, beans, chicken or pork, and guacamole.

McDonalds: Hamburger and french fries.

Pizza Luce: Any of their Pizzas as long as they use their vegan cheese.

We may venture out and try a few more spots eventually, but I thought I would share what we stick with for now.

Here is a website that I use a lot when researching dairy free foods at restaurants: http://www.godairyfree.org/Table/Dining-Out/

photo by marisa mcnamara