Blood Test

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 1:12am
tracy's picture
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My son suffered a reaction (vomiting, some hives, some facial swelling and itching) after eating a peanut butter girl-scout cookie. The allergist had a blood test done on him and he scored a 5 out of 6.

Our allergist is extremely busy and hasn't been able to talk to us about what this means. (We have another appt with him in 2 months, during which time I hope he'll answer our 4 billion questions.)

What I want to know is, what does this blood test mean? What does the score 5 out of 6 mean? That he has a severe allergy? Does it indicate that he'll have severe reactions too? How accurate is the test? Does anyone have pointers to documents that can explain it?

Thank you for any and all information.

--Tracy

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 4:49am
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<p>Tracy,</p>
<p>I'm sure that some one here will give you more detailed information pretty soon; however, a 5 out of 6 indicates a fairly serious reaction. This means that he potential for a life-threatening reaction is higher than if he scored a two. My son had the skin test done and he always gets a "4". They tell me that this is pretty serious--more serious than they see on the average. He had hives on his first exposure to pure peanut butter. He had an accidental exposure several months ago to a pre-packaged peanut butter cracker--he had no reaction. Go figure. I don't know how it relates to his score on the test. He also gets a "4" for eggs, yet has never shown any reaction to them. If you get any good answers, please post them.<br />
Christine</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 5:56am
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<p>Christine,</p>
<p>Thank you so much for your reply.</p>
<p>Okay, so what you're saying is that the score (of 5) indicates the type of *reaction* he will have?</p>
<p>I realize it's not good to have a high score, but I was hoping that it meant the *likelihood* of him having an allergy, not that he would suffer more life-threatening reactions. I still hope that's not the case... </p>
<p>Your other comments make me wonder... if your son gets a score of 4 on eggs, yet never has a reaction, then just how accurate is this blood test? And he had a 4 on the peanuts, but he didn't react to the cracker.... more wondering on my part...</p>
<p>(Anybody else have similar experiences?)</p>
<p>I know my son's reaction 2 weeks ago wasn't trivial, but I remember when it was happening I wasn't concerned at all. He looked okay, he was a little uncomfortable (itching his forhead) and he threw up, but the whole event didn't make me panic. We gave him benedryl and he went to sleep and that was the end of it.</p>
<p>(As opposed to a friend of mine who had to rush her son to the hospital because his head had swelled to "twice its normal size.")</p>
<p>Now, I've heard that subsequent reactions can be worse, and that's what concerns me. So if a 5 indicates that he's more at risk for a fatal reaction than the average kid with a peanut allergy, then I'm moving the whole family to an island where we'll grow our own food. And maybe I'll invite some of y'all if you promise to pitch in and help.</p>
<p>Thanks again,</p>
<p>Tracy</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 8:03am
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<p>Hi Tracy,<br />
I have a copy of my son's report and it tells what each class means. A 5 means a very high positive. My son scored a 4 which is a high positive and the allergist told us if he ever ate anything with peanuts not to even wait for a reaction just give him the epi-pen. All the other allergies give him benedryl and if that does not work then the epi-pen but not for the peanuts. He also told us (not to scare you) but anything over a class 2 could be fatal. This allergy makes me so sick to my stomach!!We would love to buy into your private island!!Good luck!!This is also very new to us.</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 9:04am
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

<p>Tracy,</p>
<p>No, I don't think a "5" indicates what type of reaction that he will have--the score really only indicates his "reactivity" to the allergen--and apparently he "reacts" pretty strongly. Based on this, one can assume that if he ingests it he will react with anaphalaxis being a strong possibility. Also keep in mind that your first exposure/reaction is a "warning"--the second one is supposedly worse. Of course, that did not happen for my son. This could be because his first exposure was to pure peanut butter. His second exposure was to those prepackaged crackers which are mainly shortening mixed with peanut butter. It could be that my son requires a certain level of peanut product before he will react. The test will not tell you this and the amount your child may be sensitive to could change all of the time.<br />
Christine</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 9:33am
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<p>Jan,</p>
<p>Well, of course your message has scared me greatly, so I'm now looking into island real-estate. Our allergist hasn't told us *anything* except "avoid peanuts" on his report, and that was on the bottom of the page. His nurse gave us syringes and epinephrine in a vial (our son is only 20 pounds and the epi-pen has too much dosage) and told us how to use it. I was under the impression after leaving the office that we could use benedryl unless my son couldn't breathe. I guess we need to find out what our action plan should be in the event he accidentally ingests peanuts.</p>
<p>Thanks,</p>
<p>Tracy</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 9:41am
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<p>Christine,</p>
<p>Oh, it all sounds so complicated. The unknown is so difficult.</p>
<p>Since my son is 13 months old weighing about 20 pounds, I would imagine it wouldn't take much for him to have a reaction. As he grows older and gets bigger, could he possibly tolerate more peanuts without having a severe reaction? How does this work? I've been thinking that if we can just keep him away from peanuts for as long as possible, his system will get stronger and be able to tolerate it -- I don't care if he never is able to eat a peanut the rest of his life, I just don't want an accidental ingestion to be fatal. </p>
<p>Thank you everyone, for taking the time to educate me.</p>
<p>--Tracy</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 10:20am
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

<p>Our son is also a 5 on the RAST blood test. He is almost a 6. I can tell you that his first known exposure at 9 months was hives and severe swelling. We were told that if he didn't have any exposure for about 20 years, his sensitivity could decrease. No such luck, at 5 years old he had another exposure that almost killed him. We gave him the epinephrine and rushed him to the hospital but he was in severe anaphylactic shock. He came through ok and we even more diligent than we were before. With each exposure the severity gets worse. We were also told that if he touches anything related to peanuts and touches a mucous membrane (eye, nose, mouth) that is the same as ingestion. Good luck and don't wait 2 months for an appointment. Go see an allergist right away. We had epi pen jr. for our son before he was a year old and about the same weight as your child.</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 10:39am
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Joined: 01/27/1999 - 09:00

<p>Tracy,<br />
The island sounds like a good idea to me! My son has only had a scratch test so far so we don't even know a number to indicate his sensitivity. I'm trying to decide if I want to know! He was 12 months old when he had his first reaction. (hives only). We were immediately prescribed an Epi pen Jr. and told to give it with any ingestion or suspected ingestion. We are not to wait for a reaction. Our son weighed about 21 or 22 lbs at the time. We did give him the Epi once when he had a reaction to the odor of peanut butter. He just had hives but I couldn't reach the allergist and the<br />
pediatrician covering for our regular pediatrician told us to err on the side of caution and use the Epi. (Since then we've been told we don't need to use the Epi for airborne exposure unless there is swelling or difficulty breathing. Why don't they instruct you on these things before they happen?) Anyway, he did fine with the Epi. It was me who had the increased heartrate and blood pressure!<br />
Since then we have not had any exposures(knock on wood). I'm not looking forward to when we don't have as much control over him. Good luck to you!</p>
<p>------------------<br />
Valerie</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 11:04am
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Joined: 01/26/1999 - 09:00

<p>Hi Tracy,<br />
I am so sorry I scared you. We are also new at this. My son who is 14 months old was prescribed the Epi-pen. We was 11 1/2 months old when we found out his allergy. He only weighed what your son does. The doctor gave us a prescription for 7 of them. He said to always carry it with you. I carry 2 in my diaper bag and have one by the phone and all over the house. (thank god we haven't had to use it)I have learned so much from this web site. Bookmark it!!I would try to get in with the doctor as soon as you can. Good luck</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/03/1999 - 11:31am
tracy's picture
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<p>Mary Kay,</p>
<p>Have you had your son tested more than once? (When did he get the test of 5?) </p>
<p>Also, how did his latest exposure happen?</p>
<p>I read somewhere that sensitivity would decrease after 20 years. Seems like a long time to avoid peanuts. Has anyone else heard this?</p>
<p>This just gets scarier and scarier.</p>
<p>--Tracy</p>

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