Questions to Ask the Allergist
My husband and I are taking our 13 month old son to a new allergist (we weren't happy with the first one we visited).
Since learning of my child's peanut allergy, I've started compiling a list of questions to ask the new doctor. I haven't had time to completely search peanutallergy.com or other web sites, so I don't know if an "official" Frequesntly Asked Questions (FAQ) document exists or not. If someone knows, please send a pointer. I've seen a few documents which answer a couple of basic questions, but I want a *comprehensive* document, in the style of many of the USENET and other BBS FAQs.
At the end of this message, I'll list some of the more general questions I've got so far. If anyone has questions to recommend or things we should bring up with our new allergist, please let me know. I've learned that it's CRUCIAL to ask the right questions. And yes, I already know the "standard" answers to many of these questions (many of them are probably, "we don't know," and "it depends,") after reading these discussion groups, but I'm going to ask them anyway to get another professional's opinion.
Questions to Ask the Allergist
If he has a reaction... do we treat with benedryl as a first course of action unless he can't breath? Or automatically treat with epinephrine, no matter what? What is our action plan?
Is epinephrine dangerous in any way? If so, in what way? What is the proper dosage for a 20 pound baby? Does the Epi-pen jr have too much dosage?
Is he sensitive enough that he cannot touch or smell peanuts?
Does anyone outgrow peanut allergies?
How common are peanut allergies? How many children have them? Are they increasing, in your opinion?
Are there any local support groups -- parents with children with peanut allergies? What local resources are available?
Soy allergy (my son has a slight soy allergy)... will it get worse? Will he grow out of it? Does more exposure mean more chance he'll have a serious permanent allergy? He had soy formula for at least 3 months and we didn't detect anything... Could soy exposure make his peanut allergy worse?
Can vomiting prevent a more severe reaction?
How accurate is the blood test to diagnose the allergy?
What does 5 out of 6 (on the blood test) mean? Does it mean more severe reactions, or more likelihood that he has the allergy or he's more sensitive than most people who are allergic to peanuts???
Do you know of other children with his severity? What have their reactions been like?
Is it possible he will have less severe reactions when he gets older? Or, do reactions get more severe each time? We've heard both...
How likely will he suffer a very severe or life threatening reaction? How many patients do you have that experience this often? How many of your patients have died? Why has this happened?
How is asthma related? (Does our child have asthma?) We have read that people are at more risk for a fatal reaction if they have asthma. Is this true?
If we can keep him away from peanuts and he doesn't have reactions, could his sensitivity decrease in time?
Have you heard of the vaccine that is being developed by Dr. Hugh Sampson and his team? How likely is this vaccine going to be available and work? When will it be available?