Talking Allergies

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Author:  Lindy [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Comments

I would appreciate hearing for other parents who may have experienced something similar.

My son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy via blood work about a year ago. I can't remember the terms and stats but '3' comes to mind and the drs said it was 'moderate'

Regardless we have been peanut free since.

The Dr (I am seeing a pediatric dr who specializes in alergies) recommended we do a challenge (where he put peanut butter on various parts of the skins, getting closer to the mouth) to determine the accuracy of the blood work and the extent of the allergy.

We did this challenge, just a few weeks ago. (I am getting to the point of my story!) Nothing! No reaction! At the end of the very long day, he even put peanut butter on a cracker (a big amount too) and my son ate it - again nothing!

Dr says he is no longer allergic (I ask the dr why and he sayd maybe he out grew it or false blood work) Regardless, we are to continually expose him to some peanut butter on a regular basis.

Needless to say I am a bit nervous about this. So that very evening I made peanut butter cookies. I figure there was 1/16 of a tsp of peanut butter in each cookie. Gave it to my son - no reaction!

The next night - 2 cookies. Within 15 minutes he had hives on his face and neck. I give him benadryl and everything is fine.

I call the dr. They want to try the challenge again. And they want me to bring peanut butter cookies and use them in the challenge.

I make cookies all the time. So the flour, eggs, baking soda, etc are all mine and I routinely include them in my baking. So I really don't think it is something else in the cookie but the peanut butter.

Not sure if this is the cause but on the day of the challenge, the dr said, does he have a cold. I said no - not that i am aware but his brother does (and you know how kids share germs) The dr checked his ears, chest, everything and said he appeared fine. However, the day after this hives, he says his ear hurts - yep and ear infection.

so what do you think? Allergic or not? Should I re do the challange or not?

Thanks for your input!

Author:  Alison's Mom [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

Could it be that he reacts only to a larger amount? Would you say the amount in 2 cookies was more than the amount they put on the cracker during the 1st challenge? That's the only thing I can think of, and don't know what I would do in that case. . . . . .

I hope you get some answers soon!

Author:  BC2007 [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

I have my finger crossed that your son has in fact outgrown his peanut allergy. Did he ever have a reaction to peanuts before being diagnosed with the allergy? It surprises me that a 3 is considered low enough of a RAST test to do a peanut challenge let alone at home.
Either way, I wish you the best and hopefully there is another explanation for the hives and you are peanut safe from now on. Let us know how the second oral challenge goes.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

I wonder if Alison's Mom isn't onto something. The allergists sometimes speak of "dosing" as a factor.

Not everyone reacts to trace amounts. Some people only seem to get reactions over a certain amount of peanut exposure.

Re-doing the challenge but with cookies - this is a tough one. It's a personal decision whether you and your son go for it. How old is your son?

While it's encouraging that your boy didn't react on two occasions – I sure wouldn't like seeing hives right after eating peanut.
That's concerning. Even if you do choose to take the challenge and he passes, I'd still keep his EpiPen handy for quite a while - just in case.

Author:  Alison's Mom [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

The reason I thought about it was because my DD is hopefully on her way to outgrowing her egg allergy and has been able to tolerate small amounts in baked goods for some time now. However, if she has say 3 muffins baked with eggs, she'll complain of an itchy tongue, but not have the same itchy tongue if she only eats one muffin.

I also have a strange seafood allergy. . . I've eaten a lot of seafood in my life, both fish and shellfish, and have only had a reaction 3 times. I'm still not sure what caused it, but it seems that a few different types of fish/shellfish in large amounts eaten within a couple of days will cause hives for me.

I've heard of some people's oral challenges including 16 whole peanuts, or close to half a jar of peanut butter, and I guess if that doesn't cause a reaction, what would? This of course, puts the person off eating it anyway even if they turn out not to be allergic.

Author:  Lindy [ Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

Thanks everyone for you comments.

My son is 2 1/2. Which I thought was a bit enough for an exposure test but the doc recommended it .... why do we always assume they know best? In fact, the dr would have done it sooner but I decided to wait a bit till he was talking and communicating better.

The theory about too much at once? Honestly I was thinking the same thing. The amt of pb in 2 cookies would be less than the amt the dr lathered on the cracker the day of the exposure test but ... maybe it was too much too soon.

Will keep everyone updated - but I really appreciate your comments!

Author:  cauger [ Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

I find this interesting because our daughter was also diagnosed Peanut allergic by RAST test only, but she is only 15 months old and her allergist has no intention of challenging her until she is school aged (4-5) so that we know for school. Although I have to say her RAST score is much higher (25) which is the same score are her dairy, which causes an anaphylactic reaction, so i'm not hopeful of it being outgrown. I've heard stories like this a few times as well, where only a larger amount causes a reaction, but I wonder about the cookies myself, they wouldn't seem too contain more. I hope you get answers soon.

Author:  Helen [ Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comments

I used to be able to eat a little of some things to which I'm allergic. i.e. bananas. It is definitely an allergy, because my mouth and throat would get *really* itchy. Still, I could eat up to about 1/3 of a banana on the rare occasion. One day, my mouth got itchy with just one bite. I didn't develop any other symptoms, but I was scared for a bit there. (That was the end of that. No more bananas for me. ever. my allergist at the time (not my current allergist) almost yelled at me over this incident...which also made an impact.)

I recently tried something similar to the Duke peanut allergy study with chocolate. (note: this was not allergist-recommended. it's something I wanted to do...because I love chocolate :D ) The plan was to start off with one Enjoy Life chocolate chip per day and then to up the dose (I'm allergic to chocolate. But not that allergic, I don't think.) I started the experiment with great optimism. But I had been chocolate deprived for so long that I lost all control and ate a whole handful of chocolate chips. ooops. bad idea. Maybe I'll try the experiment again some day.

So I would say based on my experience that the "dose" of the allergen can be a factor. Folks have different tolerance levels. One thing to keep in mind: tolerance levels can change suddenly. I'd be wary of peanuts with your child's reaction history. I might get a second opinion from someone who specializes in allergy and immunology before doing a challenge again.

Did your doctor do a scratch test in addition to the RAST test? As I understand it, if the scratch test *and* the RAST test are positive, it is more unlikely to be an allergy. Also, it might be an idea to redo the RAST test to see if the numbers have changed since the reaction. A high RAST = a high likelihood of an allergy (the numbers do not predict severity. someone with a lower score could have a severe reaction.)

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