i don\'t understand food allergies.......


i finally had both girls retested yesterday at a new pediatric allergist. to his credit, he refused to scratch test them for peanut given that they had both reacted immediately to the last scratch test a few years back in a different doctor's office. he recommended we have the rast test done at the hospital's lab for that and will let me know the results when they are done.

we discovered both girls have significant allergies to many tree pollens, grasses, other weeds, and molds (which does not surprise me...i am an allergic mess in the fall each year). also tomato, chocolate, and a few others (not serious though). we also found out they are fairly reactive to dog (we have two...indoors...sleep with both girls every single night. not good.) and VERY reactive to cats (we have none..thank goodness). dustmite was a HUGE one. i have a lot of work to do in their rooms (covering pillows, bedding, getting rid of stuffed toys, etc.).

i really liked the new allergist. he will be a big help to us if we need him for school or other things.

my big question is this. (and i know this sounds stupid considering i've been dealing with pa 10 years now). both girls' skin at reacted like crazy to soy during the scratch test. their old wheat and egg allergies seem to have completely disappeared (yeah!!!) but, even though soy seem to have disappeared a few years back during scratch testing, it's back and stronger than it was before. i'm confused as to how it went right back up to a 4++ now. ?????

if the scratch test reaction for soy is as big as the scratch test reaction for say, peanut or treenuts, why doesn't soy cause anaphylaxis too?? i know i should have asked this in the allergist's office but i didn't think of it at the time.

do some people have anaphylactic reactions to soy? if so, why are some anaphylactic to soy and some only mildly allergic? that would seem like saying some PA is serious and some PA is mild, wouldn't it? i'm confused.

On Jul 22, 2006

These are my *opinions*...

There *are* degrees of allergy... some people do have a more severe rx to some allergens than others.

But all allergies to certain allergens (peanuts, shellfish) should be considered *serious* (even if the reactions thus far have been mild) because a person can increase in severity with every exposure. Just because the rx is mild one day does not mean it will be mild next time and since some allergens seem to have a higher likelihood than others of producing anaphalaxis, they should be treated as *serious*.

I haven't known of anyone personally that was ana to soy, but I suppose you can be ana to anything...

BUT I do recall that the size of the welt (with food allergies) does not indicate the severity of the rx. Some people may get a large welt for pn but aways have mild rx, where as another person may get a small welt, but have ana rx...

I also recall my allergist (and I don't believe that everything a dr says should be taken as truth! So... for whatever it is worth) that sometimes a rx will be larger for something that you are "over" exposed to... For instance, I tested as allergic to chocolate, but I eat it all the time. Obviously not ana... but there could be "hidden" reactions. Anyhow... they said sometimes you will test positive to something you aren't really allergic (or are mildy allergic to but can tolerate in small doses) because you eat so much of it (I was eating chocolate 3x/day then!)

That didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I guess it maybe is a way to explain some false positives.

If you are avoiding something and test negative you are probably not allergic, but if you are avoiding it and still test + you are??

Or... if you are eating something a lot but not reacting and test negative you probably aren't; if you test positive it is probably a false + (or hidden reactions- like acne, chronic headaches, whatever).

Like I said, that is how I look at it, but can be completely and utterly wrong and having nothing to back e up! LOL!

Anyne have any real info?!?

Tara P

On Jul 22, 2006

Have your girls been eating soy all along and not reacting? If so, you might want to mention this to the allergist--the scratch tests aren't accurate and shouldn't be interpreted without reference to patient history. (I usually find the problem with allergy tests is that doctors don't tend to give one any guidance at all on how to interpret them. They just hand over the results with no comment---I guess in my case, if the test confirms that I'm allergic to foods to which I am anaphylactic there is no point in commenting. And if I have positive test results to foods to which I do not think I'm allergic, the doctor tends to assume that they are false positives. Although in the case of sesame, he asked me: "you don't eat sesame, do you?!?)

Still, the fact that the welt was rather large would be concerning---I *believe* that makes it more likely that they *are* allergic. Maybe your allergist will recommend eliminating soy for a couple of weeks and see if there is any difference and then doing an oral challenge in the office.

As for soy possibly being anaphylactic---yes, people are anaphylactic to soy. If I eat soy accidentally it is an epipen moment. I haven't, however, had as severe of a reaction to soy as to nuts (worst was vomiting + itchy, stinging throat).

I know some people who are allergic to both soy and peanuts have the reverse experience--i.e. a more severe reaction to soy than to peanuts. don't think there is any rhyme or reason to it.

[This message has been edited by LisaM (edited July 22, 2006).]

On Jul 22, 2006

i guess i just don't get why certain allergies (peanut, treenut, shellfish, for ex), cause a life threatening situation for most all who have those fa's and soy, for ex, does only in some cases (like lisa's).

for my girls, the soy is a big allergen but doesn't seem to cause a big reaction. their skin problems, which get better every year, i attribute to the soy in their diet. i feel like they would be more comfortable and fewer skin flare ups if i'd watch soy intake more carefully. our first ped. allergist in memphis told us that thee girls were highly allergic to peanut, wheat, soy and egg after testing. then he went on to tell us to avoid peanuts like the plague, carry epi/benadryl, etc but never said to worry about the other three at all because they would not be cause for anaphylaxis for us. i was confused as to how he could tell the wheat, soy and egg would not cause anaphylaxis when they were all 3+ (peanut was 4++).

maybe it was because we had seen the anaphylactic rxns with the peanut exposure and had allowed the girls to have wheat, soy and egg with no ill effect (other than skin issues).

tara, my girls also tested positive for tomatoe and chocolate and several components of milk at this most recent allergy appt., in addition to dogs, and none of those allergens seem to give them any problems at all. i would venture to guess that all of us are "mildly" allergic to lots of things that we aren't even aware of. (and personally, i don't want to know if i'm "mildly" allergic to something i currently enjoy/love unless it's contributing to some other problem - like say, worsening existing asthma symptoms or something.)

one of the things i hate about fa's (and this should probably be under a different topic) is that i am often concerned when i tell (school, for ex.) that my girls are still allergic to soy, along with the peanut, but not to worry about the soy because it's a "mild" allergy. i don't want to be the parent that makes another student's serious soy allergy seem less dangerous than it is. kwim?? like the parents at school that claim their child is PA but can have may contains and such (and even pb...i've hear this as long as it's in small portions).

i just wish fa's were more easily understood. i get that the PA is serious and not going away (for us) but i just don't get why the other allergies seem to go up and down and don't even cause visible problems at their worst (for us). guess i should just be thankful and stop trying to dissect it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jul 23, 2006

this is just something that happend to us.... when we tested my son the first time with the scratch test he was positive for corn and eggs ( among other things) and negitive for dogs... now i know that he is not allergic to corn and eggs and i know that he is allergic to my mother in laws dog... i did mention this to our allergy dr and she said that you can have a false positive with the scratch test. and that the fact that he came up neg. for dogs dosnt realy mean anything because people can be allergic to specific breeds of dog. (go figure) ... plus the reaction site reaction large or small is due to how they hold the needles.. i also asked because the first peanut test was small the second was huge and the third was small again. but his reactions to the nut is worse than ever. just wanted to let you know what we have dealt with reguarding the scratch test. ---- erin