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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 41
I was curious to see peoples insight on whether or not to do blood testing for allergies in order to have some quantifiable number to place on the allergies severity, which then also allow us to hopefully track that severity over time to see if it decreses (hopefully!).

Our son has only had the scratch test for his allergies (both producing much larger than a golf ball size hive within a minute or so for his 2 known alleries, dairy and sesame). He is just about to turn 2 and is starting nursery school, so now is probably a good time, then we can check again every Sept. We therefore scheduled him in with his allergist this coming Monday, but are questioning whether or not to still do it (possible pain for him getting blood taken).

Also, we could possibly test him for peanuts and fish at same time, as we have been advised at this point not to give him these products until he is older. However if he isn't allergic, it would open more food options up, but if he is than we would just continue as we are avoiding these other allergens (however could ensure his protection of these other allergens better with others if we knew for sure if an allergy exsisted).

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks a bunch in advance! :)


Jodi


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:46 am 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
From what I was told, a RAST blood test (not sure if that's the one you are considering) is not very reliable for food allergies. Apparently, it identifies whether or not your body has antibodies made against a certain food but this does not necessarily mean that they are/will be active. That is to say, even if he scores a large number for, let's say peanuts, it does not mean that he will for sure have an allergic reaction to peanuts. I was told that the RAST is used mainly to confirm suspicions of allergies based on a patient's history. So, if your son ate something that had peanuts in it but his skin tests to peanuts came out negative then a RAST test may help clarify whether he has the antibodies against peanuts. Even at that, they would probably want to challenge him before sending you home and giving you the go-ahead to give him peanuts.
Basically, even someone who has no allergies can have positive RAST results because there body may have antibodies against a certain substance or food but they may just not be active.
If you have suspicions then I guess it might be a good idea to do the test but if the skin tests confirmed his allergies that you know for sure, then I would schedule skin testing every september instead of the blood. I have done this for the past 17 years and it is a much better indicator of the progression of allergies. This way, your allergist can then suggest other testing like a challenge.
Nonetheless-you know your son best and you should always do what your gut tells you.

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Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Ontario, Canada
My son (just turned 3) had blood drawn last week for RAST. The allergist thinks he may have outgrown his food allergies and recommended this as another indicator after completing the skin prick testing. If the allergist finds the results he expects then he will probably recommend a food challenge.

My son was not happy about the "pokey" especially after 8 smaller pokeys at the allergists but it only took a minute to draw the blood. The actual pain caused seems a small price if there is more information to be determined. Of course, now we wait anxiously for the follow-up appointment and the results.

My son's allergist would not test for possible allergens which we have been avoiding as a precaution only (nuts). He said to give him some peanut butter and see what happens. It seems a rather calous attitude when it was he who recommended avoidance when he first say my son.

_________________
Jan, mom to 3 boys
DS#3 - eggs, cats, dust, eczema, avoiding nuts as a precaution
DS#2 - seasonal allergies
DS#1 - no allergies
Me & DH - seasonal allergies


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
My3boys said,
Quote:
My son's allergist would not test for possible allergens which we have been avoiding as a precaution only (nuts). He said to give him some peanut butter and see what happens. It seems a rather calous attitude when it was he who recommended avoidance when he first say my son.




He's probably going on the premise that you develop allergies to that when you have been exposed to. If this is true, the first exposure (in this case a skin prick test) would not provoke a positive response. It would be subsequent exposures that would show symptoms.

Do you have an auto-injector? You can try putting a little of the new food on his forearm to see if there is a reaction, then on his cheek, then his lip and finally let him have a taste. When you decide to try this, clear your calendar for the day. You want to be relaxed and do this in the am when you are well rested.

It is a scary thought to suddenly offer a food which you have avoided for so long but just because there is an allergy to one food does not necessarily mean there is an allergy to all. If this new food is OK, it opens up many more possibilities. If not, it's business as usual. Our diets are restrictive enough without making them more so.

Take your time and make a decision that is best for your family. No one is saying you have to introduce the food right now. (We were told to wait until she was 5 years old)

_________________
Moderator
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 Sep 18, 2008 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 41
Thanks so much for the feedback, very appreciated! We've decided to cancel the blood test as I don't think it will be of much help. There is no question about his dairy and sesame seed allergy, they are very severe, he has epi's for them and it extends to the point where he can't be touched if someone has cheese residue on their hands without having a reaction. So I don't think we are going to learn anything really new from the blood test like i was kinda of thinking we would.

I feel nervous about exposing him to potential other allergens, as we suspect fish but don't know if the reactions were from fish or traces of milk or dairy. I think we might go ahead with trying the fish on his forearm to see what happens. The allergist said to avoid until 3 then do a control test of both the peanut and fish, but I think at this point we would really benefit from being able to open up another food group if possible, and if not, get him properly tested and continue to avoid.

Thanks for the insight, it saved Zachary from an unneccessary prick! :)


Jodi :)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Ontario, Canada
_Susan_ wrote:
He's probably going on the premise that you develop allergies to that when you have been exposed to. If this is true, the first exposure (in this case a skin prick test) would not provoke a positive response. It would be subsequent exposures that would show symptoms.

Do you have an auto-injector? You can try putting a little of the new food on his forearm to see if there is a reaction, then on his cheek, then his lip and finally let him have a taste. When you decide to try this, clear your calendar for the day. You want to be relaxed and do this in the am when you are well rested.

It is a scary thought to suddenly offer a food which you have avoided for so long but just because there is an allergy to one food does not necessarily mean there is an allergy to all. If this new food is OK, it opens up many more possibilities. If not, it's business as usual. Our diets are restrictive enough without making them more so.

Take your time and make a decision that is best for your family. No one is saying you have to introduce the food right now. (We were told to wait until she was 5 years old)


Thanks Susan. I know the allergist's reasoning was that he'd not been intorduced to eggs. That said, he was never officially introduced to eggs except through breastmilk and he did have an allergy to that.

Since we're likely going to go through food challenges for milk and egg soon I think I'll wait to introduce nuts until after that's all been done. Too many things to deal with at once and we've avoided PB for 2 years now anyways.

I appreciate the advice on how to introduce the new food. We've never been through it so that will be helpful. Yes, contrary to the allergist's advice I do have an auto-injector for my son.

_________________
Jan, mom to 3 boys
DS#3 - eggs, cats, dust, eczema, avoiding nuts as a precaution
DS#2 - seasonal allergies
DS#1 - no allergies
Me & DH - seasonal allergies


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Ontario
I just thought I'd mention Emla. I was telling a friend that we were taking dd for blood work and she told me about Emla (I hope I'm spelling it right) Her dd goes for bloodwork mulitple times a month. Emla is a numbing cream. YOu can buy it over the counter (not cheap) and you have to purchase the special bandages that go with it too. You basically squeeze some of the cream on the arm that will have the blood drawn (I did both arms) 45-60min prior to the blood being drawn. Place the special bandages on it. When it's time for the blood to be drawn the tech will remove the bandages and your child won't feel it.

My DD only cried afterward because she "missed her blood". She didn't feel it at all. I also had her sit on my lap and averted her eyes and we all (including the 2 techs) sang Twinkle twinkle little star.

Now we call it the "Magic Cream"

_________________
4ye old DD allergic to sesame, peanut, raw egg , and mulitple environmental & seasonal allergies

2 yr old DS -no known allergies!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
We used emla for our daughter's last blood test and it went better this time. I contacted the lab in advance to find out when a slow time in the day was. We went mid morning and they had 3 techs available to assist my daughter. She had her first blood drawn at 3. We hope that having it done every year to year and a half will give us an indication of whether she might be outgrowing any of her allergies. So far though her numbers continue to go up.

When my son was tested for peanuts at 2 as a precaution, our allergist would not let him take an oral challenge at home. He had it at his office.

For my daughter, our allergist has recommended that any highly allergenic food that she has not had, be tested in his office first. We went and had an oral test for salmon this summer and we will go for tuna at a later date. I feel much better doing it under a doctor's watch.

If it was me, and I was introducing peanut butter to a child who has already been diagnosed with severe allergies, I would do it at the doctor's office not at home. It seems too risky given how little PB it can take to cause a severe reaction and how common it is for children with dairy allergies to also be peanut allergic. When our daughter went to SIck Kids at 14 months with suspected milk allergy they automatically checked for peanuts as well.

Also, I am not sure how accurate a touch of the arm might be with an allergen. Yes, my daughter was contact sensitive to her allergens so I understand contact reactions but she also had terrible eczema as an infant. Her skin reacted to so many things even things she could eat such as orange juice. Susan, is the sequence of introduction you described recommended by your doctor?

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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