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Adventures in Food Allergy Testing (Part 1)

Posted on June 12th, 2010 by Alison Read 11 Comments - Add Your Own »

I am writing this post to help others who might need to go through allergy testing with their children. I was anxious before knowing what to expect and searched the web hoping to read about others’ experiences. Here is one of mine…

eggsLast week I brought my 5 (almost 6) year old daughter in to the allergist to repeat some food allergy tests. My primary motive was to get her cleared for eggs.  When she was a toddler, she got a rash on her face and body when she ate eggs. When I brought her in for skin allergy testing at age 18 months, she tested positive for eggs. We have avoided eggs ever since, but an article in Allergic Living magazine called Allergy Breakthrough on Baked Milk and Egg inspired me to take her back in.

In addition, my allergist has assured me every time we visit that most of his egg-allergic patients eventually outgrow their egg allergy. To add eggs into her diet would be so helpful as cooking and baking gluten-free is challenging enough!

I was also hoping that I could add almonds into her diet. She had consistently tested negative for almonds, but we were advised to avoid all nuts because she tested high for peanuts, cashews and pistachios. There is a lot of cross-contamination with nuts, and possible confusion about which nuts are safe and which are not — better to just avoid them all. But, I thought, if I could ensure that certain almonds or almond products were not contaminated with other nuts, there would be another food I could add to her diet.

At the allergist’s office this time, they tested her for the following: eggs, almonds, 6 different types of shellfish (she had tested allergic to shellfish before), and many different environmental allergens including grass, various pollens, cat and dog. The environmental allergens were done because she has been having itchy eyes and a stuffy and irritated nose, and the allergist said that her nose was swollen inside.

The test consisted of 3 sets of “stamps” on her back, and then one on her arm. The stamps are 6 tiny little pricks with a different allergen going into the skin. If a “wheal” or a welt shows up, it means that the person is reacting to the allergen. When she was younger she completely freaked out about the prick tests, but this time she didn’t even flinch. I’m glad she couldn’t see the egg reaction developing on her back though.

Here are the results of the skin prick test:

  • Egg: positive :(
  • Almond: positive :(
  • Shellfish: negative :)
  • Environmental allergens: all or almost all positive :(

Here are the recommendations from the doctor:

  • Egg: do an egg challenge in the office. The doctor says that even among kids with a positive skin test for eggs, 50% can actually tolerate eggs. The egg challenge is scheduled for June 23rd. She will, over a few hours, consume one cooked egg as she is being monitored for a reaction. We’ll see what happens!
  • Almonds: forget it. All nuts are out. No challenge because nuts are considered risky.
  • Shellfish: looks like she is cleared for shellfish, although he wants to do a shellfish challenge in his office given the fact that I think I am allergic to shrimp and abalone and don’t eat it anymore (based on experience). But for the most part, it’s looking good!
  • Environmental: “Close the windows.” Yes, that was really the advice from the doctor. And Claritin as needed.

Stay tuned for Adventures in Food Allergy Testing Part 2 after we do the egg challenge on June 23rd!

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Comments

  1. Good luck on the 23rd.

    We went through an egg challenge last spring. Unfortunately it wasn’t successful, but I do have some advice for you. We brought in one scrambled egg. He hated the taste and it was really hard for him to eat it throughout the challenge. I wished we had soaked a piece of bread in egg for French toast or prepared more of a quiche, maybe with bacon, to make the egg taste better. They offered ketchup, but he wasn’t interested. So, my lesson in food challenges is to give more thought to the food I’m bringing into the challenge to make sure it’s appealing to my food allergic child.

    Keep us posted!

  2. We are doing a food challenge on the 18th for peanuts. My daughter tested positive for peanuts and eggs about 3 years ago, and her first retest was last week. Skin prick tests and blood tests were all negative. We had hoped for the egg to be negative, but the negative on peanut was a complete surprise. The allergist has recommended a whipped PB for the testing – she says it’s more palatable to kids who aren’t used to PB. Hope that’s helpful info for anyone reading who has a food challenge for peanuts coming up.

    Hoping for good results on your daughter’s egg and shellfish challenges!

  3. Wow! My sister’s baby has tested positive for milk [hopefully she'll find out whether it's lactose or caesin] when she thought he was allergic to eggs.
    That’s really awesome that they can do an egg challenge though! I really hope your daughter can tolerate eggs ay, for your sake too coz it’s so much easier cooking GF with eggs!

  4. Good luck on the 23rd – I’ll keep everything crossed for you!

    So sorry about the nuts though – that would have been a great extra source of protein.

    Bella’s doctor wants to do a peanut challenge (she’s got a neg rast, but positive spt) but she wont do it. If she does change her mind I’m definitely remembering the tip about the whipped PB. I had no idea that even existed!

    Gab

  5. Look into chia seeds as a great source of protein. During a month in France I ate yogurt with nuts for breakfast (sigh! no pain au chocolat for me) but I also added a tablespoon of chia seeds; this mixture kept me satisfied until lunchtime. The last week I ran out of chia and found I was hungry before noon. Sorry the nuts won’t work for you but perhaps the chia will. You can add them to bread mix when baking as well.

    Lesley

  6. First, I’ve never commented here but really enjoy your website and the great information it provides.

    Second, best of luck with the egg challenge! The baked egg thing is very promising. My daughter failed her egg challenge at the allergist’s office in January after eating scrambled egg and french toast, but her reaction was mild enough and slow enough that they allowed us to begin trying baked eggs at home. It has been going really well. So, I hope for your sake that even if she doesn’t 100% pass her egg challenge that they let you try the baked goods route.

    (Here’s my blog post on our egg challenge experience if you’re curious: http://diningwithgoldilocks.blogspot.com/2010/01/georgias-egg-challenge-aka-worst.html)

  7. My plan is to bring one scrambled egg, made with oil and salt. I will bring ketchup, but not sure if she will want it either. Bacon might be a good idea!

  8. RLR,
    I just emailed you to see how the peanut challenge went… I am so curious!!!

    Theresa,
    The new study about milk and egg being tolerated when cooked at high temperatures is encouraging!

    Thanks Gab,
    Interesting that Bella won’t do it. Did she have a severe reaction that she remembers? My daughter hasn’t, so she excited to try foods (this is also dangerous, because she is not scared and doesn’t realize how serious a reaction could be).

    Hi Lesley!
    I have tried Chia seeds recently too! I put them in pancakes and Maxine ate them the first time but the second time she didn’t want them in there. I will try to sneak them into more places. :)

    Kate,
    That is my plan exactly… see how the egg challenge goes and then try them baked at home if her reaction is mild. I am getting my hopes up now. Yikes!

  9. Alison – Thanks for checking in to see how it went – she passed the food challenge, too! I’m almost done wrapping my brain around the whole idea that we can now give her peanuts and tree nuts – and eggs, too!

    Gabrielle – I didn’t know about the whipped PB until the allergist told me about it (I haven’t exactly been perusing the shelves for peanut butter, ya know?). Hope your daughter will try the food challenge someday!

    I also want to add a little more info about egg allergy, too. Our daughter has always been able to tolerate eggs baked into things (cakes, cookies, etc) – unless it had a LOT of eggs. She reacted to salad dressings, mayonnaise, etc., with s skin rash. Hoping for positive outcomes for all who are trying baked egg!

  10. I have been suffering from hives for a very long time. Doctors don’t know what is causing them. I was taking a laxative that contained Senna/sennosides and I cleared up so for sure I thought they were going to go away, but I continued to get the hives especially at night. It is very hard to sleep because of the itching. I take Tylennol PM which helps some but I just want it to be morning so I can get up. I stopped eating all seafood, strawberries, chocolate, sausages, pork, spices (I only use salt and pepper). Anybody knows what could be the problem?

  11. Have you been tested for food allergies?

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