Monday, January 16, 2012

Rookie Mistake

No matter how far along the learning curve we may get, there's always a chance that we'll make a "rookie mistake".  I'll share mine, as always, in the hopes of helping someone else avoid my mistakes.

We live near a wildlife ranch, where you can drive in your car and look at and feed the various animals.  They give you a couple of bags of feed and you mosey along the roads at your own pace.  My daughter loves to go there and I enjoy taking her on inclement weather days, since we can stay in the car.

We bought a season pass and after a couple of visits, it dawned on me that I hadn't even asked what was in the food pellets that we were given!  I had noticed a trend of my daughter being a little itchy after our visits there, but the pellets were pretty solid and she doesn't really put her hands in her mouth, so I didn't think too much of it.

On our last visit, however, we got a bag with what looked to be the "bottom of the barrel" and there was mostly dust at the bottom.  My daughter was digging into the bag and taking the pellets out and putting them in the door handle and dropping them in the process and "animal feed dust" was getting everywhere.

That night she was extra itchy and the next day her poor little face was all broken out in a rash.  Her legs also got a little splotchy and she was sneezy and snotty.  Her reaction never went beyond that, but I just felt terrible.

I went online to see if their website had any information about the feed, but it didn't, so I Googled animal feeds and found that many were made from corn and/or soy, which was not a problem, but then I found a picture of the feed that looked exactly like what we were given and it was made out of wheat! :(  Wheat is one of her moderate allergens and thankfully not one that she is anaphylactic to (so far).  She spent a few days, though, recovering from the exposure.  On our previous trips, there was always a little feed dust at the bottom of the bag and that ended up on the floor boards and all over the back of the car, so now I think that explains why she always seemed to get itchy after being in the car.  I remember thinking, "what is in this car that's bothering her?"  DUH!  I'm guessing the huge dose of dust on this most recent trip just put her over the edge and caused a more obvious reaction.

I cleaned out the car and my husband and I went to a car wash to use the heavy duty vacuums and we basically detailed the car, top to bottom.  We wiped all of the hard surfaces and cleaned the floor mats.  I spend all this time warning people about allergens in unexpected places, so I certainly felt silly missing this pretty obvious source.  Just because it's not food for her to eat, doesn't mean it's safe for her to touch/inhale!

Oh well, as always, I will just try to do better in the future and not dwell, but I wanted to come here and share.

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