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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Burlington
My daughter's first appointment with the allergist is next month....FINALLY! She's had some allergy testing with a pediatrician who specializes in respiratory problems. When she was there I asked her to test her for peanuts and it turned out positive. So, she referred us to an allergist. Anyway, I was just wondering if I should go with a list of foods/other that I would like her to be tested for or does the first visit have a standard tests that covers most areas? I remember when I was tested as a child they did about 64 different things across my back. Is this still standard practice?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:17 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
My son was last done three years ago, but they did a whole range of tests down his arm.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Ontario
My DD is only 2yrs and the allergist only tested her for 6 things. I wish we could have tested her for more but the test was done on her back and it's not very big. When she's about to enter school we'll go back and have her tested for more. Depending on how old your child is I'd take a list. There may be things on there that they wouldn't "normally" test for. The allergist did test DD for Sesame after I told him about her Anaphylactic reaction to humous and it was obviously positive.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 929
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Laurensmom, Our experience with the 2 pediatric allergists we've seen with our son is that they only test for a limited number of allergens - those you suspect are the problem; however, they may add others that are related (for example, your daughter is allergic to peanuts, so the allergist may add tree nuts (a blend of several tree nuts in a single test)). Definitely show up with your list of allergens of concern. I also show up with a list of questions (I always seem to have questions!) Our son is allergic to a list of 9 different allergens, and his allergist (same as your daughters) tests every year, but alternates 4 on one year, 5 on the other. By the time the testing is done to include controls (positive and negative) and a few other skin tests I can't quite recall, our son ends up with about 20 different skin scrapes, and that's about all he will tolerate anyway. I'm sure the allergists know that a young child has real difficulty with full testing, so, for now, they limit it to the allergens you strongly suspect. By the way, our son's annual appt with the allergist is next month as well - maybe we'll run into you there (not likely, but you never know!) If you have questions for this particular allergist following your appt, the nurse can answer them by telephone - she's very knowledgable.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Our allergist tests on the arm, and a maximum of 6 tests plus 2 controls. He will only test for foods that I strongly suspect due to a previous bad reaction from injesting it. Example: my daughter tested positive to chicken, but he will not test for turkey ( she has never tried it ) because a better indicator would be a food challenge (food challenge supervised by allergist, and NOT recommended for allergens such as different members of the nut family ). She has sensitive skin and the allergist feels that she may get a "false positive" from the test. Or, because she has never been exposed, the test may get a "false negative" because her body has not developed the allergy yet.

The allergist has a yearly schedule of when to re-test or test for environmental allergens. My four year old was NOT re-tested for peanuts, and has ever been tested for tree nuts. She has never eaten a treenut, and the likelihood of her having a treenut allergy is great because of the peanut allergy. The treenut test would likely not be accurate since she has not been previously exposed. So yearly, environmental allergens (dust, cats, trees, grasses etc.) get added to her tests.

Depending on the age of your daughter, the allergist can do a RAST blood test. My daughters are due to have these prior to school starting. He said they will give some indicator as to a childs severity, and likelihood of a severe reaction.

Definitely take a list of questions to ask. If you have any foods/products that your child has shown a reaction to, but you are unable to pinpoint the exact ingredient which caused the reaction...take a copy of the ingredients of a product she has reacted to and keep it on file with your allergist incase you have a future reaction . Example: my daughter had a reaction to playdoh, the playdoh ingredients are on file with my allergist, so if she has a future reaction to another chemical...we can compare the two to see if they share common ingredients.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6479
Location: Ottawa
I would add this, you may wish to be referred to a dietician. It can be difficult to maintain adequate nutrition on a restricted diet.
With our daughter, we switched to soy milk at 15 months or so when we realised she was allergic to dairy. We became concerned when her growth abruptly stopped. (she had been in the 95 percentile for height)
After consulting with a dietician we discovered she was deficient in her fat intake by 7 teaspoons daily. Fat is needed for the growth and development of the brain as well being necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
Good luck with your test! :)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
My daughter will have her first appointment with an allergist in a few weeks. Because she is 14, I'm supposing they will be able to test her for all the peanut relatives (for lack of a better word), such as peas, chick peas, beans, etc. and probably also tree nuts.

Now my question is how do your children feel after allergy testing? Do they need to take an antihistamine afterwards? Should I bring some with us? (I know she should not have any prior to the test.)

Her appointment is first thing in the morning. Will she feel okay to go back to school later?

She was tested for environmental allergens when she was 4, but even though she was found to be allergic to cats, dogs, dust mites and some pollens, I don't think she felt too bad afterwards. But because the food allergens cause a more serious reaction, do the tests have the potential to cause a stronger reaction? (Not full blown ana, but may be some hives, etc.)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Nicole,

You may want to phone your allergist in advance in regards to the chick peas etc. my allergist did not have them available to test for my kids. Apparently I am to bring in the extra items I want to test them for. A phone call may save you an extra trip.

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Sil


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 929
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Nicole, Our son's allergist also does not carry the serum for chick peas and other beans; although, she did have the serum for green peas. We see Dr. Waserman at McMaster. A phone call ahead of time (now would be good, since you may have to go buy the beans, and do some preparation of the food before the appt.)

In terms of how our you can expect your daughter to feel, I can only speak about our experience... our son felt absolutely fine afterwards - you would never know he had gone through the testing! And for him, it was VERY traumatizing - I'm sure his screams could be heard throughout the entire children's wing. I really don't think it's very painful, but he was absolutely terrified. But afterwards, he was RIGHT back to normal. He did not need any antihistamine.

Good luck! It's great that you're going into this appt well prepared, because it will be another year before you get to see the allergist again!

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Thank you Sil and Julie, it is a good idea to phone the clinic ahead of time. We had peas not too long ago and my daughter felt her throat becoming a bit tight and her stomach was sore. I gave her some Benadryl and she was fine. So I think she should definitely get checked for peas.

She will also get checked for amoxycillin. She developed a rash once after taking it. So did my hubby last fall and then we learned that my MIL is also allergic. (All the bad stuff comes from my husband's side of the family :lol: )

I am hoping we will also see Dr. Waserman, Julie, as we are going to the Firestone clinic in Hamilton.

Julie, is your son anaphylactic to all those foods? I certainly hope he outgrows some of them! (Ideally, all of them, right?)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Burlington
Nicole,

How did your daughter react to the allergy testing at age 4? I think my son has some
environmental allergies...he's 4. I'm just afraid of how hysterical he will be?

Anybody,
How important do you think allergy testing is if you can link the reactions to environmental things only?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 929
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Nicole, Dr. Waserman has indicated to us that all foods have potential for anaphylaxis, so we must treat all of our son's allergies as having this potential. She commented that our son is "highly allergic", and the only food he may outgrow allergy to is egg (although, he remains highly allergic to egg in his most recent visit to the allergist this past February 2006). Dr. Waserman has prepared us to expect life-long allergy to the rest his other allergens (although, our 7 yr old daughter maintains that, when she grows up, she's going to find a cure for allergies!). We've gone quite some time without a reaction (last one was Sept 05 when I had to administer the Epipen), but our son has required emergency treatment (ambulance, ER) several times. We now have it well under control with very careful management of his food, avoiding all may contains, preparing nearly all foods from scratch (including breads and any baked goods). With all that in place, we hope to stay away from emergency care needs.

We've found Dr. Waserman and her staff to be knowledgeable and compassionate. Your actual visit with Dr. Waserman will likely be fairly brief (if you do end up seeing her at your visit) so make sure you ask the attending resident and her clinical nurse (Jan Falcone) ALL your questions - and then make sure you ask Dr. Waserman your most important questions. Jan Falcone takes follow-up phone calls/questions at any time, so don't worry if you forget to ask something, or 6 months from now, have a question that needs answering. But, for the most part, the once a year visit is pretty much it. Thank goodness we have this forum to share any other information the other 364 days of the year!

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
To Laurensmom,

I don't remember her having any reaction other than little red bumps at the site and some itchiness, which calamine lotion took care of. She wasn't hysterical, they prepared her well and told her she would just have a little scratch.

The important thing about testing for environmental allergies is knowing what your child is allergic to. My daughter was allergic to cats and we had two cats, so we had to find a good home for them (that was traumatic!), and dust mites, which meant we had to buy special pillow and mattress covers and dust a little more, that sort of thing. As for the external allergens like pollens, it can help you understand why your little one is sneezing more or has more asthma at certain times of the year.

If all he gets is some sneezing and red, itchy eyes, you're right, do you need to have him tested at all? Good question.

To Julie,

I thought having a peanut allergy was challenging enough, I don't know how you manage! Poor little munchkin! My next door neighbour also has a little guy who is 2 years old with multiple food allergies. She's busy with another little one, so I don't see her much.

Your son is lucky to have a good mom. It seems you're doing everything right.

Thank you for all your info about the clinic, I will be well prepared when we go in 3 weeks.

It seems that more and more people have food allergies. The only advantage with this is that it puts more pressure on the medical community to come up with a cure. :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
First, thanks to all that have posted information here. Some of my questions have already been answered. :lol:

My son is going to see an allergist next month. He is 8 years old.

Do you think I should talk to him in advance about the testing? He's terrified of needles, so I don't want to stress him out. But I also don't want him getting extremely upset at the doctor's office.


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
That's a tough one.

Some thoughts:

1. You might first want to call ahead and find out what kinds of needles they use. My allergist uses a relatively humane "stamp" where they do 6-8 needles at a time. (Looks like a rather unfriendly nailbrush.)

Others do it one scratch at a time (and ours does too for some things), and I have to admit, it doesn't look like fun. But it really seems to depend on who is doing the scratching as well.

All this to say, at least you can describe to him a bit what is going to happen. Or not if you think it's gonna freak him out. But I would think the unknown is worse than the known.

I think I've even practiced on my kids with a nailbrush (gently) to show them what it would be like (once we'd done an initial visit and knew what to expect).

2. I don't believe in lying to kids. I vividly remember, when I was about 6 or so and going for allergy tests, my own mom telling me "no, there won't be any needles" and lo-and-behold, there were about 40 needles. I was not impressed and I'm sure I made a lot of noise.

I've never forgotten that. Having said that, I was a bit of a drama queen and not ashamed of having a huge meltdown in front of people (me? shy? nuh-uh), so I do understand now (now that I have a drama queen of my own) why she did what she did.

However, the lie will only work once. After that he's gonna know that "allergist often equals needles".

For my kids, now that they're older, I explain that yes, there will be needles, but it doesn't hurt that much (although Max assures me it does) and that it's to help us figure out what is safe to eat and what isn't. I don't dwell on the needles - in my experience, the needles don't take up much of the visit. It's the pre-talk and the post-needle-wait and the checking of the welts and the post-talk that take up the time. So you can tell him that - it doesn't take much time to do and will be over quickly.

3. When my kids were really little they didn't cry at all. Just looked surprised.

Last time my youngest had his skin tests (age 5) he screamed bloody murder. I just held him and told him it would be over soon. But man, he was loud.

If you think your son will react like that, bring along your husband to help hold him. Or make sure you're strong enough to.

My oldest (7), who is actually the certified drama queen, has started to surprise me and didn't scream, but he did say "ow Ow OW!" a few times. So you just never know.

4. Plus I bribe them. We're lucky enough that there's a pharmacy with safe treats the floor below, so while we are waiting the 20 minutes for the welts/hives to appear (or not), we go down to the store to buy a treat. If you don't like food bribes, you could bring a toy and give it to him right after the needles. Even tell him ahead of time that it is coming right after the tests. It will help pass the time when he's trying not to scratch the various welts.

I'm sure others will have other ideas, but that's my two cents.

Oh - it can take awhile. Bring good books or whatever will keep your son entertained. :)

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


Last edited by KarenOASG on Tue May 16, 2006 2:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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