Allergy Testing???

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 6:49am
Michelle W's picture
Joined: 06/18/1999 - 09:00

On this board I have read the results of many allergy test that have been done on your children. My allergist has not tested my son for any allergies (including the severity of his peanut allergy.)

When my son was 15 months old - I gave him a small amount of peanut butter on a cracker. This was the first time to my knowledge that he was exposed to peanuts. He gobble down the cracker, and I washed him up and began to change him. He started to sneeze, (I cannot explain what was coming out without making a few of you sick). Within seconds his face was swollen (to the point that his eyes were swollen shut and his lips were cracked and bleeding) He was bright red and had hives all over. His breathing was very laboured and he became listless. I called 911, the ambulance arrived within minutes and they rushed him, in the middle of Feburary - out the door with only a diaper on.
At the hospital the doctors rushed to him and hooked him up to machines and administered adrenalin. We were in hte hospital six hours before they released us, and the swellning and redness did not go away for about 2 days.
We were at the Allergist office very soon after that - and he said that there was no point in testing him at this age, because he was to young and the results would be inaccurate.
Now my son is almost 6 yrs old, and he still has not gone through any testing. The allergist now says that we know he is allergic to peanuts and that he does not appear to be allergic to anything else. So again there is no point.
Has everyone had testing?? Is there any reason that my son should absolutly be tested?? I was wondering what you all think and if you believe that I should push for some type of testing. Sometimes I wonder (actually dream) that he may not be allergic to peanuts (since he has not had another reaction since the first one), I know this is wishful thinking. Anyways what do you all think of my situation and should I either change doctors or should I push for testing.
Thanks Michelle

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 10:03am
Noreen's picture
Joined: 01/24/1999 - 09:00

Hi Michelle:
If your son is showing no signs of other allergies (not catching colds frequently, dry coughs, constant runny nose, etc.) then your doctor may be right in assuming your son has no other allergies. What is clear is that he had a very serious reaction to peanuts when he was 15mo. I forgot the figures exactly but only 18 out of 100 peanut allergic individuals actually outgrow the allergy and rarely is the allergy outgrown if the reactions were of your son's magnitude. What your doctor might be protecting you from is knowing what his exact RAST score is. Although we are told not to predict the severity of a reaction with the RAST score, many of us do. When my son was retested, I was very sad that his RAST had gone up since he had been initially tested at 10 months. Since you do not have a baseline as to what your son's initial RAST was at 15 months, you might be disappointed if he gets back a "5" or "6" on the results. If you are prepared to handle any disappointments, then I'd suggest getting the RAST test for the peanut protein alone. Do not risk a skin test with your son. His reaction was too severe to do so.
BTW, congratulations on keeping your son reaction-free for over 5 years! Care to share your secret formula? [img][/img]

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 10:26am
tracy's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

I learned at the Food Allergy Conference in Baltimore that the CAP Rast test is a better indicator of allergy (as opposed to just the RAST test). I don't know much else and was planning on asking my son's allergist about that at our next visit.
Also, Dr. Robert Wood reported on the study regarding children outgrowing the peanut allergy... I think 18 out of 100 is actually quite good. I spoke with Dr. Wood and told him about my son and his reaction at 13 months. Dr. Wood said, "Maybe he'll be one of the lucky ones who outgrows the allergy."
I'm not holding my breath of course, but I too have wishful thinking from time-to-time.
Something else I remember about that study was that the child's likelihood of outgrowing the allergy was greater if he/she didn't have other food allergies.
And finally, I did talk to the mother of a young child several months ago. She described her son having a reaction to peanuts (hives, swelling, etc.), but she didn't think anything more about it. She said he eats peanut butter all the time now with no problem. Makes me wonder how many other cases there are like this.
All I'm saying is that there may be hope for some children, "never say never," and utilize the latest technology that's available to help you understand what's going on. If your wishful thinking turns into downright denial about an allergy that still exists, then that's not going to do your son any good... if however you have to deal with the disappointment of a positive CAP RAST test to tell you what you've known for years, then the point is driven home that you need to keep your guard up.

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 11:43am
armiger's picture
Joined: 05/15/1999 - 09:00

Our ped and ENT also says that Brady shouldn't be tested until she is three to get "accurate" results. ALthough, from reading here..lots of babies are tested!! Brady is allergic to dairy and peanuts that we know of...but I will not allow her to go to kindergarden without being tested! I am home with her now but I want to know exactly what we are up against when she is away from me in school. Right now I feel like I am just going by "trial and error". Tammy

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 7:35pm
Christine's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

I tend to agree with you ped. My son was tested because he had a reaction at daycare. The daycare staff were the only ones to see the reaction and said that it occurred right after eating some peanut butter. By the time I got to him the reaction was gone--I never saw what happened to him. In order to be sure, I had him tested. It was then that we discovered an egg allergy. We have had him tested a few more times since then just to "be sure" and see if there were any changes. Now that he is 4, I will no longer test him for peanut anytime in the near future--I'm convinced it is not going away.

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/1999 - 12:22am
Dawn's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

My son was tested at 15 months, with the skin test. His ped thought it was important (and so did I ) that he be tested to make sure it was the peanut in the cookie that caused the reaction (swelling and hives) and not some other ingredient. Turns out Josh is also allergic to eggs, soy, wool and dust. I would also like to have him tested with the CAP-RAST after he turns 3, after his immune system has "matured".

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/1999 - 12:24am
Kathryn's picture
Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

Hi, we had Troy tested for peanut allergy after he reacted to a piece of peanut butter toast. He was two. A year later we asked the allergist to test him for all nuts and seeds. They also did tests for egg, animal [cat and dog] dander, pollens, molds, dust and feathers: standard allergens. Troy has allergies to all tree nuts, dust, pollens, dander, peanuts, feathers and the biggest surprise to us was eggs. He had always resisted eating them and we didn't push but never connected this to a possibe egg allergy. I believe it is useful to have the testing done. In Canada it is unusual to have either the Cap Rast or the Rast, the standard testing is skin testing. I asked our allergist about that and the only answer I got was that all tests were equally reliable predictors of allergy! I don't know what to think about that but I am comfortable with the results of the skin testing so will not push for any more tests for a number of years--maybe five or more.
Take care.

Posted on: Sun, 06/27/1999 - 10:39pm
Lynda's picture
Joined: 03/08/1999 - 09:00

Hi All! We got a call from the allergist with the results from Sean's additional allergy tests. Again he had positive results to eggs and peanuts and additionally all tree nuts. He had negative results for the other allergens such as dust mites, dog dander,house dust and so forth. Silly enough, I was secretly hoping the original test for eggs/peanuts was wrong but now I am faced with the reality and must stop the denial. Even with his anaphlactic reaction I didn't want to believe this was possible. Yet it is very real. To add to the second set of positive results, my 12 year old daughter had pb at my mothers house and then came home. She said she washed her hands and face thoroughly. After playing with Sean, he began to get hives and his eyes began to swell. The only thing I can guess is that since she did not brush her teeth (she also has braces), when she was kissing and hugging him, her contaminated saliva got on him. With 4 children, it has been very difficult to get the other 3 to understand that we can not have peanut/nut/egg products at all if Sean is to remain safe. Maybe they too have been in denial. It just seems so unbelievable. Well thanks for letting me ramble. Lynda

Posted on: Thu, 07/01/1999 - 1:25am
kbrosn's picture
Joined: 01/28/1999 - 09:00

My daughter first reacted to peanuts at 18 months - hives, swelling, etc. Pediatrician prescribed epi, benadryl, the usual. At the time I didn't feel allergy testing was necessary. She has not had a reaction since.
We took Shannon to the Allergist two weeks ago and just received the results of her RAST test. The nurse tells me all tests came back negative. She read me the list of allergens, including peanut and all were negative.
I saw the reation happen so I am very reluctant to believe these tests. I know there is a chance of false negatives too.
My question is what would you do for a next test? - Would you go with skins or a CAP RAST?
I'm not sure what to do next...
Any thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Posted on: Thu, 07/01/1999 - 2:45am
Noreen's picture
Joined: 01/24/1999 - 09:00

Hi Kath:
How severe was your daughter's first and only exposure to peanuts? How old is she now? I'd weigh in these factors before deciding on what to do next.
If her first reaction did not involve any breathing difficulties, passing out, etc. and she is much older now, then my suggestion would be to go with the skin test next. If the skin test is negative, then do an oral challenge in the allergist's office. Who knows, your daughter may indeed be one of the lucky ones who outgrows this allergy. Let us know what her results are.

Posted on: Thu, 07/01/1999 - 5:50am
SteveW's picture
Joined: 04/08/1999 - 09:00

I inquired what the steps leading up to a peanut food challenge. This is from the Johns Hopkins Medicine, Division of Pediatric Asthma and Allergy. First, a CAP-RAST is given. If the test is under a certain level (I believe it's <15 for peanut) then a food challenge could be given. I was told they typically would not do a food challenge on patients with higher levels because they are almost certainly allergic.
The CAP-RAST, has proven particularly useful in helping to sort out true allergies from false positive tests.
[This message has been edited by SteveW (edited July 01, 1999).]


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