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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:01 pm
Posts: 4
My 6 yr old son has severe milk and peanut allergies. We have known about his allergies since he was about a year old. He was recently retested via a RAST test and his numbers were very much higher than in the past. He has been tested every 6 months for the past two years and his numbers were as follows:

Milk: 12.4 (July '07), 7.6 (Jan '07), 7.4 (Aug '08), 14.8 (Apr '09)
Peanut: 54.6 (July '07, 56.5 (Jan '08), 84.2 (Aug '08) , >100 (Apr '09)

Does anyone know how much variance is "normal" between testing? I've tried doing some google searches and haven't come up with anything, and a call to the allergist's office got me a brushed off "yes, the can vary, make an appointment with the allergist". I already do have an appointment set up, but am curious for some answers in the meantime. Does the increase in numbers mean he is more severely allergic? We have ramped up the safety measures in his school since receiving these results (reinforced hand washing after lunches, special cleaning of the allergy free table in the cafeteria), but we don't know what else we can do.

Does anyone know WHY the increases in the numbers could happen? Would he have to be injesting his allergens, or could the results increase due to topical exposure?

He has recently been diagnosed with "viral induced asthma" and I am wondering where that will lead us. It seems that he is needing a nebulizer more and more frequently and I am also wondering if exposure to his allergens is causing the asthma.

Any help you can provide is welcome and I am anxious to get to know the people on this forum. I just found the forum the other day and have been trying to read as many posts as possible between working!

_________________
Me: Sulpha, Iron Sucrose
DH: Peniciliin, Shell fish
DS: Penicillin, Peanut, Milk, Asthma


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
From what I have read, RAST scores are not predictive of how severe a reaction will be, just what the probability of a reaction is. It is measuring the current amount of specific IgE in the blood, but these levels can fluctuate since IgE is produced in other cells and may not be in the blood stream. But, if someone has a history of reaction, but is showing low numbers, their immune system is primed and they can produce large amount of specific IgE in a short period of time, and have a severe reaction.

It does look like the numbers you posted are staying in a similar range, Milk 7-15 (category 3 is 3.5-17.49) and Peanut over 50 (category 5 is 50-100, category 6 is 100+).

Hope this makes sense.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
We have never had RAST testing done. I am finding that scientists are just beginning to understand how allergies work. Years ago we were told to avoid all allergens, including contact reactions as this could conintue to prime the body. It was thought that through avoidance, we could increase the chance of out growing a reaction. Now, they seem to think otherwize.

We have skin prick testing done to determine allergies. If these skin prick tests start to show the body is no longer reacting, we may concinder a RAST prior to an oral challenge.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:01 pm
Posts: 4
Susan,

That is interesting that your allergist does things opposite than ours. I actually pushed for the RAST testing intially, more for my own curiousity and also to set up a baseline. DS was young and I hated to keep having him be pricked. We had switched allergists for a while, the 2nd one was totally on board with the RAST testing (he wasn't very good with childen and I didn't think he wanted to hear my son screaming through the skin testing). When we went back to the original allergist, she continued with the RAST.

When his milk allergy dropped to ~7 for a year, she said she would consider a food challenge. Prior to trying a food challenge, she insisted he have skin prick test. Her belief was that if he reacted via skin testing, she would not do a food challenge. Within a minute of the skin prick, he had a wheal 2x the size of the control wheal. She nixed the food challenge immediately.

We have followed a strict policy of avoidence for peanut in our house (not allowed past the threshold), however we do keep cheeses and other dairy products. My husband and I are vigilant about preparing safe foods for DS and safe food prep areas. I suspect DS's exposure is at school where other children are eating peanut and milk products and not properly cleaning their hands afterward.

My MIL has pushed us for years to consistantly expose DS to his allergens so he could outgrow them, as his cousin did with the milk. She is very gung ho on the new peanut studies where minute amounts of peanut are given to allergic individuals to build up tolerance. DS, however, is severely reactive (hives upon contact) with both of his allergens and his pediatrician as well as allergist do not feel he is ready for any time of exposure.

I love that I found this forum and look forward to the knowledge and support I will receive here.

_________________
Me: Sulpha, Iron Sucrose
DH: Peniciliin, Shell fish
DS: Penicillin, Peanut, Milk, Asthma


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
BMTB wrote:

My MIL has pushed us for years to consistantly expose DS to his allergens so he could outgrow them, as his cousin did with the milk. She is very gung ho on the new peanut studies where minute amounts of peanut are given to allergic individuals to build up tolerance. DS, however, is severely reactive (hives upon contact) with both of his allergens and his pediatrician as well as allergist do not feel he is ready for any time of exposure.


There is not enough information yet to start exposing allergic individuals to their allergens willy-nilly! :shock:
4 candidates are able to tolerate 'may contains". This does not a cure make.

Listen to your Dr's.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 809
Location: Vancouver, BC
I made sure my children only had RAST tests (and not skin prick tests) to foods they'd had anaphylactic reactions to, so peanuts and eggs for DD and peanuts and tree nuts for DS.

DS has only had one test so I have nothing to compare it to. My DD's results to peanut and egg both went down, and although I've been told the number doesn't really mean anything, I could see myself being concerned if they went down, then went back up. Our allergist also told me that the score can go back up following any type of reaction. I've also heard there are different ways of reading blood test scores, so perhaps this might have come into play if they were done at different offices or different labs?

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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