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…
Last 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!