Pumpkin has been fighting a cold for eleven days. We made an appointment for urgent care (yes, they do that at Kaiser) and headed to Fontana. The fact that we weren’t seen for almost two hours after that appointment is bad enough, but we were another full hour in the pharmacy. Dye free is difficult — especially for kids. For Pumpkin, it is essential. FD&C red #40 has actually made him suicidal. The blues, #1 and #2, make him incredibly aggressive. The yellows, #5 and #6, make him paranoid. Removing them from his diet has helped a great deal.
The doctor reacted to this information the way all doctors do. While she acknowledged that she’s read the studies — plenty of scientists have found reason to worry about the stuff — she seemed shocked that a kid could have such terrible reactions to so many of the dyes, and was absolutely stumped when it came to prescribing something that doesn’t have dye. In fact, the first medication she prescribed was a bust. She thought that since the powder is white, it stayed that way. It actually doesn’t. Once they add water and mix it up, it turns red. If I have to live with the consequences of a dye for a while, red #40 is the one I want the least. That’s the one it had.
The doctor had also told me that there is a dye-free dimetap for kids. She said it’s made for diabetic kids, so it’s usually behind the counter. It’s dye free and sugar free. I don’t care about the sugar, though I will not give my children aspartame. As an epileptic, I refuse to give my kids something that is known to cause seizures in small children. All of this is beside the point as I never found it. They didn’t have any at Kaiser (the pharmacist wasn’t even familiar with it). They also didn’t have any at Walgreens or Riteaid.
Several countries have actually banned the FD&C dyes. Those countries have dye-free alternatives for everything including M&Ms. We can’t get them here, and it is very frustrating. Truth is I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more allergies to the dyes. I predict there will be in the future. If you really think about it kid food are overrun with dyes. Just look at breakfasts: most kids eat cereal (most of which have dye), but even if they don’t there are pop tarts, breakfast bars, colored syrups, dye-enhanced jams, sunny delight and tang. That’s only one meal! Kid foods are so full of dyes that even if small amounts aren’t a big deal, they’re literally eating dye from morning until night. It seems benign, but nothing — absolutely nothing — is benign when taken in excess. Even drinking too much water can be harmful (must be a real excess though). Americans seem almost addicted to dyes. Even pickles have dye. I guess the green of pickles isn’t quite green enough.
After spending a full three hours at Kaiser, I spent the day scrambling around for dye free OTCs. Ricola cough drops, Zarbees Nighttime Cough Relief, and a Walgreens generic antihistimine that is dye free were what I chose. His prescription ended up being a white ampicillin suspension. He’s resting now. Gosh I hope he’s better soon.