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 Post subject: Mystery reactions?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Kate had an allergic reaction last night - her first since we'd seen the allergist and eliminated her *known* allergens. She threw up 9X in 6-1/2 hours.

She seems fine now, relatively perky and happy, and displaying her usual toddlery behavior. No hives, no breathing problems THANK GOD.

Yesterday afternoon we went to a group play date where there was milk, cheese, mayo (chicken salad) and Honey Nut Cheerios around. I watched her like a hawk and was the first to leave because I was getting so paranoid (apparently for good reason). The only things she ate there were the Kix I brought and a piece of cantaloupe which she's had a dozen times. The rest of the day she ate all "safe" foods, no new foods at all this week in fact.

I'm calling the allergist's office today for an appointment because after the third call last night, he thinks it would be a very good idea to do a blood test for various fruits and veggies (I did give her a piece of cantaloupe at the play date but she'd had that many times before).

So, we don't know what caused all this. Whether it was some minute amount of contamination at the play date, or she somehow ate something not safe, or if it wasn't the play date, but something in the green beans (new package of frozen) or Oven Stuffer chicken that I made yesterday and she ate for both lunch and dinner. Or if she's suddenly allergic to something that was safe before. We've wracked our brains but she hasn't had any new foods this week. But it was very scary and disheartening to realize that she can get so sick from what possibly was just a teeny amount of something. The not knowing is the hardest.

The doctor seemed to think that the fact that she was "just" throwing up was very good though - at least it wasn't an anaphylactic reaction. We're very thankful that it didn't progress to that as well.

How do you handle a "mystery" reaction like this? Does getting another blood test and testing for other things (I'm going to ask for the chicken, green beans and cantaloupe specifically) make sense? Or is it just "one of those things" that you pray won't happen but inevitably will?

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:25 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Orleans, Ontario
Hi Katesmom

Like you, I hate those kinds of reactions. Our son actually had an anaphylactic reaction and to this day don't know what triggered it. As far as we were concerned he'd eaten safe foods and he was in our home!

Any chance that it wasn't an allergic reaction at all, but stomach flu?? It's apparently been one of the worse season's of stomach flu this year.

Denise

_________________
Oldest son 9: allergic to fish and shellfish, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites
Youngest son, 5: allergic to peanuts, nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, asthma, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
There's no way to be 100% sure it wasn't a virus, but she didn't have any other symptoms - no fever, chills, diarrhea, anything at all but the vomiting. And today she's fine, not even cranky, just tired (napping now even).

The allergist seemed to really think it was a food thing from our description of the onset and symptoms. And the fact that we'd been in someone else's house and there was so much "unsafe" food there...

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 919
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Just a thought about this because this MAY be similar to a situation we encountered when our son was 3.5 yrs old and required the Epipen. I learned a lot from the situation, and we entered a new stage of vigilance with our son.

I"ll keep this brief. But, first, I was wondering if your daughter's hands were absolutely clean before she ate and if the surface she ate from was clean? The reason I ask this is because allergens are so easily transferred from one surface to another, or one child to another. When our son was 3.5 yrs old, I was grocery shopping with him and he was still at the stage where he would put his fingers in his mouth. He did not eat in the grocery store and had eaten nothing for about 2 hours and he suddenly started to have a major reaction in the grocery store. I am absolutely positive it was because of the contact he had with the grocery cart handle and putting his fingers in his mouth. I don't know what he reacted to, but it must have been one of his known allergens.

He has not had a single reaction since that date and I attribute this to our new stage of vigilance including: always ensuring the food he eats is safe (this was always the case anyway - rarely does he eat anything that did not come from home unless we are absolutely sure it is safe), always washing his hands everytime before he eats, and ensuring the surface he eats at is clean (I make sure he always eats from a plate, or napkin, or some other absolutely clean surface). We are out a lot at family and friends homes and out in lots of public places, but as long as we ensure we take the time to do these things, he is safe to eat.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Hi Julie:

I think we've entered that "new stage of vigilance" as well for the very reasons you mentioned. Katie's 16 months so she definitely still sticks her fingers in her mouth. I wipe them as much as possible but she could have touched any surface (or toy) in my friend's house and put her fingers in and back out...she's quick on the draw. It's one of the habits I'm trying to break her of but she was doing it on Day 1 (we have it on tape) and won't take a paci at this stage. She does it less than she used to but...it's making life very scary right now.

As far as eating -I actually gave her the Snack Trap (little cup with a lid that you can stick your fingers through) in the car (which I know is a big no no for choking hazard but I wanted her to finish before we got there for the very reasons you mention) and she wasn't done yet so I let her finish the Kix at my friend's so she wouldn't be hungry for the food there. Her hands were clean when she started. Once we were there there was only 1 high chair that everyone was taking turns using so we didn't use it. Short answer - she could have touched the coffee table, exersaucer, etc and then grabbed a Kix and ate it....

It's not a good way to find out your child is so allergic that just a mote of something on a surface can cause an all night vomitfest. But again, at least we didn't have to pull out the Epipen.

By the way the allergist who was on call last night just called to check up on her. I thought that was very nice.

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Katesmom,

My daughters were diagnosed in April 2004 and we quit playgroup in May 2004. In the few weeks after being diagnosed, my oldest played with a toy phone and had hives all over her face, and my youngest ate a chip off the floor. It really is such a scary place. Kids everwhere getting food everywhere. STRESS!!

On the bright side, we've managed to find enough safe "foodless" activities to keep the girls happy. Yesterday we had pottery in the morning, skating after lunch and tap dance after that. I now only tend to get stressed about typical mommy stuff like running here and there everyday.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Hi Katesmom -- my sons allergens are *only* peanuts and nuts and I had a wake-up call at our local library when he was about 3. They didn't have a "food policy" and allowed parents and children to consume food anywhere in the library. It stressed me out but I thought as long as I was diligent enough, he would be safe. Then one day a child was left to wander with a peanut butter topped cracker and was within very close proximity to my son. That was it. Children play within such close proximity to one another and young children play intimately -- touching each others hands, mouths, sharing toys, etc. Your daughter is still too young to "get" that she needs to keep her hands out of her mouth, etc. (my son is 4 and still needs to be reminded and he never was a child to suck his thumb). You're also avoiding some very highly transferable allergens. I decided to stop attending our library drop-in until (with my initiation) they declared certain areas within the library "food free zones". I know this doesn't completely eliminate the risk but it reduces it greatly. Like Julie's son, my son also had a "mysterious" anaphylactic reaction last summer after we had gone to the grocery store -- it certainly caused us to be even more vigilant than we had been and do not underestimate the potential for trace amounts of his allergens on surfaces to cause a reaction. We don't attend any play groups or "kid's activities" where food (or unsafe food) is allowed (for us it helps that many programs are going "nut free") -- I think I'd have a heart attack from all of the stress. On the brighter side -- it will get easier as your daughter gets older and is able to better understand how to self-protect and understands why she needs to. As far as your question about what we did after his "mysterious" reaction -- we watched with bated breath each time he ate for fear that we were dealing with a newly acquired allergy. About three weeks later we did have a follow-up appointment with his allergist who couldn't offer any real insight -- my son did not have any further reactions. Chalked up to a mystery. It really did shake our world for a bit -- every little cough, anything for that matter, that my son made got me to sit up straight and just wait... Another thing we do is carry wipes with us everywhere we go, each time we return to the car from being in stores, etc. we all wipe down our hands (when hand washing isn't possible). All the best! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Thanks for the info and advice. Most of her playdates are now in other people's homes, if not ours - if we decide to go any more, it will be one-on-one only where they either eat food I bring or no food. :( It makes me feel like such a jerk to tell people they can't eat certain foods in their own homes but I think that's what it's going to take in order for her to have any socialization. Besides the fact that if they're really her/our friends, they'll understand. (Although it took this incident to even make some people in my family understand.) The only other group we've gone to (twice now) is the library, where they have a big play room downstairs...and sippies full of milk...

Triliam: Some good news, if you can call it that: there IS a virus running around where the only symptom is vomiting. The allergist hadn't heard of it but we talked to the pediatricians office as well as some friends who've had it yesterday. So we're really hoping that THAT'S what she came into contact with.

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:25 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Orleans, Ontario
Hi Katesmom,

This is definetely one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with food allergies for me. Parents of kids who don't have food allergies don't think twice when their child throws up or rubs their neck or clears their throats!! They are pretty sure it's the flu or their neck is itchy or they have a frog in their throat!!

I remember in the car whenever my youngest son would make funny gurgly sounds with his mouth or cough, or clear his throat repeatedly, I would always turn around, stare at him, wait a few seconds and ask if he was o.k. After a while he started just putting his hand up and say I'm o.k. before I even said anything, sometimes in the middle of his coughing fit!!

Each one of my boys threw up mysteriously after a spaghetti dinner recently, one week apart! Both times, it was right after dinner, lasted only once and that was that. They were completely fine afterwards.

I thought it was very ironic that it was pasta that did it for both of them, their allergies are completely different and their is absolutely no allergens in our spag dinners. I therefore chose to believe that it was a mild version of the flu going around because it made no sense that it could be a reaction and I thought I'd try to be a regular parent and think, once, just once, maybe it was just throwing up!!

They have handled spaghetti dinners just fine since. I guess we'll never really never know what caused it! But for now, that's good enough!

Here's to peace of mind for all of us, hoping that we find it more often!!

Denise

_________________
Oldest son 9: allergic to fish and shellfish, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites
Youngest son, 5: allergic to peanuts, nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, asthma, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:15 am
Posts: 11
Location: Australia
Hi Katesmom,

We have been experiencing a similar problem lately with our Anaphylactic son. When my non allergic child vomits I automatically assume the 24hr tummy bug, and any rash is dismissed as heat rash etc, but when your allergic child starts to vomit you are terrified about where it is heading, and should you have the EpiPen ready?!

Whilst we have been able to avoid his allergen (dairy) to date, we have had some really random reactions from him to other foods. I had him retested for all the foods that I thought were in our "new allergies list", and they are all NEGATIVE. Strawberries had resulted in vomiting and hives, ham off the bone had given him a rash around his mouth, onions had made him vomit and the latest a special dairy free chocolate had resulted in an outbreak of hives.

With all the results being negative our allergist has suggested that these reactions may be one-off and have a connection to his immune system being a bit messed up at the moment. We now have him on a month course of antihistamine (day and night) for 1 month and then we will re-challenge these foods. Our doctor seems to think this will calm everything down.

I don't know though...it all seems a bit like a guessing game doesn't it! If he wasn't allergic, would these episodes just be written off as just one of those things that kids get? As we are more attuned to what we are feeding these kids, and watching them more closely maybe we are trying to fit too many pieces of a puzzle together?

I will repost after our month of medication is finished and I have retested the foods again, to let you know what happens.

Good luck
TC

_________________
Son Ethan: 1yr old dairy anaphylaxis
Daughter Annella: 3yr old No allergies
Me: Penicillin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
TC wrote:
I had him retested for all the foods that I thought were in our "new allergies list", and they are all NEGATIVE. Strawberries had resulted in vomiting and hives, ham off the bone had given him a rash around his mouth, onions had made him vomit and the latest a special dairy free chocolate had resulted in an outbreak of hives.

With all the results being negative our allergist has suggested that these reactions may be one-off...

I don't personally have experience with this but I know from others that have posted on this forum that oftentimes skin prick tests can result in a false negatives. They say that the one true test of food allergy is what happens when the food is ingested. If your son is vomiting and getting hives and rashes -- that is indication of food allergy to me. Did your doctor talk to you about the possibility of false negatives with testing? Did the allergist do skin prick tests as well as RAST tests? I'm sure other members can shed some more light for you on false negatives... Personally I'd be leery about challenging these foods again without being within close proximity to hospital...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
From what I understand, false negatives on skin testing are less likely than false positives. Is there a possibility of cross contamination with some of the foods with dairy or another allergen? We also had one mystery anaphylactic reaction a few years ago and we still have no idea what caused it. It must have been cross contamination with one of her allergens. All of the food she was eating at the time is and still is safe for her.

_________________
11 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
9 year old son - no allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
One more thought. I believe I read somewhere that a test could be done after an anaphylactic reaction to determine which allergen caused the reaction. I don't know if it would be a RAST test. I forget where I read this also. Does anyone else know about such a test?

_________________
11 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
9 year old son - no allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6429
Location: Ottawa
I don't know what that test is called either but I'm sure a read/heard about it too.
I believe the false negative skin test has happened to a member of this forum where fish was involved and the allergist used a protien he had. When they retested with the actual fish, there was a positive reaction.
I would suggest that TC bring a sample of the food in question to use for the test.

_________________
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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Taken from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency ... 003519.htm
Quote:
The accuracy of allergy testing varies quite a bit. Even the same test performed at different times on a person may give different results. A person may react to a substance during testing, but never react during normal exposure. A person may also have a negative allergy test and yet still be allergic to the substance.


Taken from: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=24&cont=337
Quote:
There are four kinds of skin tests: scratch, puncture, prick and intradermal. Your allergist may use one or more skin tests to analyze your child's response to various substances. Keep in mind that you may see a false-positive or a false-negative skin test. Results often depend on how well the test is performed.


http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WS ... dmtContent -- this link provides some good information about allergy testing.

In addition to the above quotes, I've read (just googled "false negatives and allergy testing") that avoiding the offending foods can also influence the results of the SPT (not to suggest that a person should continue eating the problematic foods). Also read that taking antihistamines can influence the results of some tests. Seems that it's not all cut and dry -- lots to consider. TC I hope you are able to get to the bottom of your son's reactions. :)


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