Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cinnamon Allergy?

The other day, Ethan had an allergic reaction to something he was chewing on-- a Colgate Cinnamon Wisp Toothbrush. The strange thing to me was that he had already chewed on the toothbrushes twice before without any problems, so I had no idea that he would react the way he did this time.

It all began when I gave him one of the Wisp toothbrushes to keep him busy while I drove my sister home. After a few minutes, he started saying "Ow, ow!" and pointing to his mouth. I assumed that he was poking himself with the pointed rubbery end that is used for flossing, and told him to be careful with the brush. I kept a watch on him through the rear view mirror, to see if he was turning the brush around to poke himself on purpose, but all I could see was him using it correctly. Hmm... a couple of minutes later, he repeated "Ow, ow, mom!" and started rubbing at the left side of his mouth and cheek. I reminded him to be careful, but dismissed it and kept driving. A minute or so later, I looked in the rear view mirror to check on him again and saw that he had apparently rubbed his cheek/mouth area so much that it turned red. In fact, it looked almost raised. I kept glancing back and saw his skin turning even redder and more inflamed looking right before my eyes. And that's when I first suspected an allergic reaction.

I reached back and took his toothbrush and then called my sister Stefanie on speakerphone to ask for advice. She told me to get him immediately to a pharmacy and give him a half-dose of Benadryl to stop the allergic reaction. We were about a block and a half away from Save Mart at the time, so I got there as quickly as I could in 5 o'clock traffic and jammed into the store. By the time we got in to the Pharmacy and bought the Children's Benadryl, the left side of his face was bright red and looked a little swollen, with the red area appearing raised up a bit. The Benadryl said that it wasn't to be used for a 2-year-old, but I listened to my sister instead (she'd gone through something similar with her toddler many years prior) and gave him half of a dose right away. Within fifteen minutes I could see that the symptoms had stopped getting worse, and after about half an hour they actually started to fade a bit. By the time Stefanie came over an hour later to check in with us, the raised area had subsided and the redness had faded down to what looked like flushed skin instead of a burn. From now on I'm taking her advice and keeping Benadryl in the house, and maybe even putting some in the first aid kit that we keep in the car. Just in case!

FYI, I don't really think it was a cinnamon allergy. Toothpaste products tend to use cinnamic aldehyde for flavoring, and he has eaten food with cinnamon in it since the incident without any problems. I'll just keep him away from cinnamon toothpaste or cinnamon mints from now on, and hope we don't have any more issues.


  1. Great advice from Stephanie! Glad it helped too.

  2. Me too! I almost had a stinkin' panic attack when I saw how quickly everything was happening... never want to go through that again!