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 Post subject: Possible egg allergy ??
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
My son currently only has a confirmed allergy to peanuts. He's eaten foods containing egg for a long time but only started eating egg on its own starting this past summer. I would make him scrambled eggs without any problem for the first couple of months -- then all of a sudden I noticed that whenever he ate the scrambled egg, it would go right through him. I was confused at first because egg has never bothered him when he eats it as a component of other food -- it seems that it's just when he eats the egg on its own. He doesn't exhibit any other symptoms besides diarrhea immediately after eating (no hives, swelling, shortness of breath, etc.) Needless to say, I don't feed him eggs on their own anymore (but he still eats egg in baking etc. without any problems). I spoke to his doctor, and he says that he's never seen this before...we're going to have him skin tested for egg in the new year, but I wondered if anyone else could comment on this??


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:50 am 
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Our daughters' egg allergy was picked up on the initial skin test-before she had had any egg (that we knew of) so I'm afraid I can't be of much help.
Can you try to think back to what it was that he was eating with or prior to eating the egg? Can you keep a food diary?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:36 am 
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Location: Canada
If you feel comfortable with doing this, one way to investigate would be to take your child off eggs (in baked goods and everything) for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Then you could reintroduce a small amount of egg in the morning (before breakfast) and wait and see if there is any reaction. (But care is needed because reactions tend to be stronger for some reason is the food is removed from the diet for awhile.) If nothing, you might want to try feeding him egg in a baked good or on its own after lunch. Sometimes if one is allergic to something that one eats all the time, the reaction can be masked. Or maybe it isn't an allergy at all--it's a difficult call.

I have an egg allergy---I have gastrointestinal symptoms (usually vomiting but on one occasion severe stomach cramps) + throat soreness/itchiness + my mother says that my face would look weird. But I've been egg free since 1985---and then I tried it deliberately at home to see if I had 'outgrown' the allergy (*not* a good idea).

You can't really trust those allergy tests to be anything other than a guide. Other immunoglobins other than IgE could be involved. I find too that the results can be inconsistent from one test to the next. I am definitely allergic to soy. And I accidentally tested the theory again three years ago or so (I unknowingly ate something with a bit of soy protein). On my last allergy test, the test for soy was positive. But it hasn't always been positive in the past. And for some reason, on my past two tests potato looks like a much more severe allergy on the test when I know that soy is the more severe one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:13 am 
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Thanks for the replies -- if there is one thing I've discovered about allergies, it's that there is no one simple case. Susan -- when this first started being a problem for him, the first thing I did was try to remember what it was that he'd eaten and was at a loss because everything that he'd just eaten was something he'd eaten without any problems many times before. So I tried the items individually (on different occasions) and am reasonably certain it's the egg. But who knows - ?? Lisa -- you indicated that your scratch tests haven't always been accurate/reliable in the past - how else do you verify an allergy to something? Are RAST tests accurate? Or do you just go by how you feel and the symptoms you exhibit? That's one thing I was really wishing I had was Ethan's perspective on how he was feeling. Being just about 3 years old, he's not quite old enough yet to independently share/articulate how he's feeling with specific detail (besides, I feel good, I feel bad, etc.).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 10:57 am 
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Location: Canada
Yes, experience is what I trust---but allergy tests can confirm/act as a guide if I'm not sure. I asked an allergist about this and he said that the way they read the results depends on the context. I'm hoping I'm not getting this mixed up, but I believe he said that if someone is very allergic then it is more likely that a positive skin test=an allergy. But also, if an allergic person does not react that means that does not necessarily mean that that person is not allergic. I think he said that the reverse is true for people who don't have tons of allergies. He was reluctant to give me an across the board test---maybe he was concerned that there would be false positives and I would avoid more food (this is just a guess)--but he did say something about not wanting to put a bunch of allergens in my system all at once. But if there was anything I was wondering about he said he would test me. I asked for a slew of tests on various types of fish--then asked if I could eat the types of fish that I didn't react to (and I did react to some of them). He said he wouldn't recommend it--he would do further testing with a fresh sample and then do an oral challenge if I wanted. I kind of wish now that I had taken him up on this, but I didn't-it seemed time consuming and a bit scary. (However, I tried salmon at my current allergist's office and am now eating salmon.)

One major issue did come up with my former allergist---I thought I was allergic to wheat. He did a skin test + it came back positive. Then he ordered a RAST test (to answer your question---RAST tests are *less* sensitive than the skin test.) I find allergists generally do skin tests first....if the patient is clearly allergic based on experience + skin tests they won't bother with the RAST test. There isn't much of a point then. But if the results are unclear they will do a RAST. The RAST for the wheat came back positive too...my doctor didn't tell me the number, but he said that it was more than a little positive. He didn't actually say that I was allergic to wheat but his advice was to avoid wheat.

My current allergist doesn't think that all of my positive skin tests are necessarily an indication of an allergy. I think that is because he did what I refer to as the tongue depressor scratch test :) (he scratched my back with it) and that test causes me to get hives where my skin is scratched. I gather (but I'm not 100% clear on this) that he thinks it likely that I could react to the pinprick. He also said something about the test cross reacting. Although he tried to explain it to me, I didn't quite get it. (anyone else know about this?) Apparently, though the tests can cross react although the foods don't ?

Some things I just don't know about. i.e. chocolate. I used to react a bit on occasion...I figured it was the soya lecithin (to which I'm sometimes mildly allergic to I think....I'm *definitely* allergic to the protein). But I got really sick one time. My allergist suspects contamination with nuts...it was imported chocolate and I now know that nut allergic people really have to look out for this! But on the other hand, one allergy test I had (but not all) was positive for chocolate (a 3 on a scale of 4). I avoid it...but I can't say for sure whether I'm allergic.

Maybe 'allergy tests explained' would be a good idea for an AL article! It certainly is confusing.

ethansmom, because your son is so young and might not articulate what is happening, I'd be suspicious of the egg. I used to eat things that made my throat a bit scratchy on occasion (like chocolate) because at the time that seemed like a small price to pay for being able to eat something (here I'm thinking of chocolate again. I *loved* chocolate.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Lisa, in regards to your question about reacting to the pin prick...

Both my daughters have "cold urticaria", cold enduced hives. When my youngest daughter developed a large hive at the injection site if an immunization...the doctor wondered if it was from the immunization or the pressure of the needle due to the fact that she already had cold enduced hives. "Pressure Urticaria" is hives from pressure, and they can result from a pin prick, needle poke or scratch in a person who is gets them.

Looking back, the immunization did contain chicken, so I am pretty sure that is what caused it. However, the allergist is reluctant to do an allergy test to turkey, because she might get a "false positive" because of her sensitive skin, and strange conditional urticaria. He would rather do a food challenge...Oh Joy...that sounds like fun.

Cross reacting to the skin tests can occur if the doctor uses the same needle to prick more than once (they are suppost to use a new needle for each ), or a small amount of an allergen being tested drips or runs near the "prick site" of another test.

I watched my doctor at the last visit, and he used a new needle for each, and was very careful that the drops did not run, or move from the location they were placed. The nurse held my daughters arm quite still and said that if her arm jerked with the drops on, that the tests might not be accurate.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 7:42 am 
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Lisa, I agree with Saskmommyof2. It sounds like your current Allergist doesn't have faith in the methods of the past Allergist.
Our Allergist always uses a clean needle and he does a control test so that he can see how the skin reacts to a prick with no allergen.
I would suspect most Allergist carry out the test the same way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:42 am 
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Location: Canada
Thanks for the replies. That's a good point about the possibility of cross contamination with those tests. But I'm not sure that that was it--my allergist used a multisyllabic word in explaining it to me which I have never heard before. I could have asked him to explain further, but I just made sure I understood the basic point--that the tests might cross react even though the foods don't. I always have all these questions to ask so I try not to spend too much time on any particular question....

saskmommy2, I used to have cold urticaria--not severely, but whenever I'd play in the snow and get snow on my wrists (*always* happened when I was a kid) I used to get hives + I am dermographic (i.e. I get hives when my skin is scratched) + the whole reason why I was referred to my current allergist is because I was getting mystery hives. So I guess that's why my allergist is skeptical about positive skin test results.

I don't think that the two allergists I've seen lately are at odds...the difference I think is that when I was seeing allergist #1 I didn't specifically mention 'hives' but mentioned that I had had the odd 'minor reaction'...he didn't ask about what I meant and I didn't explain further. I was sent to allergist #2 because of the hives...another doctor I go to was aware of them because I was keeping a health journal for her.

allergist #2 was questioning his own tests. The only thing he seemed skeptical about from before was the wheat allergy...though the first test administered in his office was positive as well. But it turned out that my current allergist didn't have my RAST test scores in his notes and in fact wasn't aware that I had had that done. But he's seen the RAST scores now, and I think the issue is closed.

actually, while I'm confident that the test results done in allergist #1's office are as accurate as these tests can be, I'm not so confident about the scratch test at my current allergist's. He doesn't oversee the testing himself, and the nurse does the tests really quickly. I can see how it would be easy to mess up because there is only so much room on my arm and there are quite a number of pinpricks. The marks on my arm don't seem to match up exactly with where the drops are and it is difficult to tell which allergen is which. I've pointed out more than once that she missed pricking one of the drops. On one occasion, it seemed to me that there wasn't actually a drop where she had attempted to put one...or if there was a drop it was so small as to be invisible. I wonder if she needs reading glasses or something. She doesn't use a new metal thingy to prick each test--she wipes it off though, and maybe that is sufficient--I don't know. Twice there has been some confusion as to the test results. I watch her carefully, and she leaves the solutions out so while I'm waiting I figure out what I am reacting to. The one time she said...'you reacted to the control' but I don't think she did a control that time and in any case, the reaction wasn't where the control would have been. I said....'I think that's egg' and she examined my arm more closely and then agreed. On another test, she said I reacted to chocolate....I thought it was sesame but I wasn't 100% sure...and I've reacted to both chocolate and to sesame before. She ended up writing down sesame. I've thought of saying something, but one doesn't want to get on the bad side of someone who gives one needles. I don't think that my allergist sees the test results as that significant anyways although he does seem to trust the environmental tests more. The testing *would* be enough to make me want to find another allergist...and I would hope that the nurse would be more careful when testing people who are having mystery anpahylaxis rather than mystery hives...but I like my allergist so I'm overlooking this particular aspect of my visits to his office.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Mystery hives are quite scary, when you don't know what is causing them. When my oldest daughter began getting them, I was really concerned "had she some into contact with peanuts?".

It took a while to realize that she got them when she was cold...on the wrist after playing in the snow, on her ankles if she kicked the covers off at night, anywhere if she was not wrapped in a towel immediately after coming out of a bathtub. We finally were convinced that is what it was after she ran in a lake up to her ankles, and when she got out her feet had hives. My younger daughter gets them too, and yes it is from the cold as well. The other day my two year old was playing downstairs (carpeted and really not that cold ) and pulled off her socks, when I noticed, she had a hive on her ankle. They always wear socks, even to bed because their feet get them easily.

One thing to point out to anyone else who gets them, even if you only get them occassionally or mildly (my kids are mildly ) it can be life threatening to swim in cold water, or fall off a boat...so if I plan on taking my girls swimming or boating they must take reatine or arius 3 hours prior.

Lisa, I am pretty sure that a new sterile needle must be used for each prick. I ceratinly would not let my daughter use a spoon that was just in someones milk, and wiped off before being put in her soy milk. Wiping is just not good enough to remove all traces of an allergen. My allergist used a new needle for each prick and the same needle for the negative control, and then the positive control, I must have looked curious because he explained to me that the needle did not contact anything other than my daughters skin in the neg. control and thats why it was still okay to use on the positive control. He also said that I am very observant to have noticed the possibiliy of inaccurate tests from a needle being used more than once.

Perhaps your allergist is not aware that the nurse is not using a new sterile needle for each prick. I would hate to think that there are other people out there who have been given tests, which may not be accurate, and have adjusted their lives based on the test results.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
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Location: Canada
Sounds like your kids have pretty serious cold urticaria. At least you found out what it was.

It makes sense to use a different needle...but just to make sure that we're talking about the same thing here, are we talking about the scratch test rather than an actual needle? (I've always just had a scratch test, but I know they do intradermal testing as well...like how they do for venom allergies. I don't actually know what the metal thing they use to puncture the skin is called for the scratch test). Do other peoples' allergists use a new metal puncture thing for each drop?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:43 am 
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Lisa, I to was referring to the skin test. Yes they use a new one each time.
They should also mark where they are placing the substance (pen dot) and be able to remember what each one is.
I'm not sure if they wash and autoclave the 'needles' afterward and if they did perhaps that would be ok. At the actual time of the test I woud be questioning the effectiveness of the test if they reused 'needles'.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:04 pm 
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Location: Canada
Thanks for the clarification. It looks like they do need to be more careful with the allergy testing on a number of levels. Not that this is acceptable, but I find that careless mistakes are more common in the field of medicine than one might think. One of my sisters had tons of appointments with lots of different doctors because she was quite ill after travelling and working overseas---blood samples got lost, she was given wrong information as to what sorts of tests are available in Canada, her medical history got written down entirely wrong---even the dates and duration of her symptoms got mixed up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:50 am 
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Gone are the days when Dr's were thought to be Gods! Now they are overworker professionals just trying to stay two steps ahead of litigation.
You really need to be your own advocate. This is hard a times.
I often feel that it took so long to get the referral that I don't want to upset the person by pointing out what seem like glaring inadequacies to me. What I try to do is gently ask them to expain the procedure as with my limitted experience it seems confusing when... that usually works.
We need to be so sensative and diplomatic. That's why I snap when people refuse to make simple concessions to keep our daughter safe.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:40 am 
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Location: Canada
It's true---doctors are overworked and I find that there is lots of room for miscommunication especially if one's medical history is complicated. Tact...which sometimes becomes indistinguishable from subterfuge is required.


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 Post subject: egg allergy
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:01 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Ontario
Ethan's mom - My son exhibited hives when eating eggs scrambled (about 18 months). He also gets "itchy" when I have unknowingly given him vegetable dip (salad dressing has eggs - who knew?) oh, and say no to pizza/wing dips. When skin tested, (at 2) he did show positive to eggs, but the allergist told me it could be the white or the yolk and to introduce each separately when he reaches 4 as small children can outgrow egg allergy. He has never exhibited any other symptoms of egg allergy in baked goods and loves to eat yorkshire pudding which are basically egg buns (egg, flour & milk - baked). So I am as confused about egg allergies as you are - glad to know that there is someone else out there. I haven't been brave enough to try introducing eggs since, other than in a few baked goods (usually cookies) (no lemon merangue pie). He is not due to be tested again for another year, so I am getting much better at learning what items he cannot eat (so is he!)
There are no other food allergic in our family, so it has been quite a learning curve. When we have the annual gathering of items on the buffet table, I will take him to the table and point out what he cannot eat to him, get him to recite back to me, and make sure I get his plate first.

Have a happy, healthy holiday! Cheers, Buzimom :lol:


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