Questions to Ask the Allergist

Posted on: Sat, 02/06/1999 - 5:57am
tracy's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

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.

Thank you!!

--Tracy

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?

Posted on: Sat, 02/06/1999 - 9:53am
Valerie's picture
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Joined: 01/27/1999 - 09:00

<p>Tracy,<br />
I would also ask the action plan for airborne exposure with reaction and if he touches peanuts and reacts. This was never addressed with us and I ended up in a slight panic when my son reacted to the smell and I didn't know what I should do.</p>
<p>------------------<br />
Valerie</p>

Posted on: Sat, 02/06/1999 - 11:04am
tracy's picture
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<p>Valerie,</p>
<p>Good point wrt airborne/smells action plan. I've added it to the ever-growing list.</p>
<p>--Tracy</p>

Posted on: Sat, 02/06/1999 - 2:24pm
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Joined: 02/04/1999 - 09:00

<p>Hi Tracy: You have covered so many of the questions that I also have. Please let us know what your Allergist's answers are to these questions. My guess is he probably won't have definitive answers to a lot of them as this allergy is so unpredictable. Good luck! </p>
<p>------------------<br />
Colleen</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/07/1999 - 7:38am
tracy's picture
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<p>Colleen,</p>
<p>We're supposed to see the allergist this coming Thursday, so I'll be glad to report any interesting things we learn. I have a feeling we won't have enough time to go through all my questions -- you know how busy these doctors are. I may print out a copy of all my questions for him and schedule a phone appt with him.</p>
<p>--Tracy</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/07/1999 - 3:21pm
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<p>Hi Tracy:</p>
<p>I know how busy these specialists are, but who better to spend their time with than the mom of a kid with such a severe allergy as this one is!!! To be honest with you, I have never seen an allergist regarding my son's peanut allergy, as there are none in our area. Since my son is entering kindergarten in September though, I am going to make an appointment with our pediatrician and ask him to refer us to the closest allergist<br />
(which I think is four hours away from us).<br />
I am very curious as to what his reply will be as I find him ever so slightly on the arrogant side. I have a feeling that he will say its not necessary, that he can answer my questions. I intend when I do see him to ask most of the same questions as you are going to ask, and I would love to compare notes on it. I think, WE (and our kids) are the becoming the experts, the ones that have to live with this day to day!! Thank goodness for this Website! I have learned so much!</p>
<p>------------------<br />
Colleen</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/07/1999 - 3:22pm
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<p>Hi Tracy:</p>
<p>I know how busy these specialists are, but who better to spend their time with than the mom of a kid with such a severe allergy as this one is!!! To be honest with you, I have never seen an allergist regarding my son's peanut allergy, as there are none in our area. Since my son is entering kindergarten in September though, I am going to make an appointment with our pediatrician and ask him to refer us to the closest allergist<br />
(which I think is four hours away from us).<br />
I am very curious as to what his reply will be as I find him ever so slightly on the arrogant side. I have a feeling that he will say its not necessary, that he can answer my questions. I intend when I do see him to ask most of the same questions as you are going to ask, and I would love to compare notes on it. I think, WE (and our kids) are the becoming the experts, the ones that have to live with this day to day!! Thank goodness for this Website! I have learned so much!</p>
<p>------------------<br />
Colleen</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/07/1999 - 3:48pm
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<p>Oops! sorry about duplicating my message above! </p>
<p>------------------<br />
Colleen</p>

Posted on: Mon, 02/08/1999 - 12:25am
tracy's picture
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<p>Colleen and Everyone,</p>
<p>Perhaps we should create the definitive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding this subject. Maybe there's an allergist who could help us do this. We can start with my questions and add to it.</p>
<p>I'll see what kind of response I get from the allergist on Thursday before doing anything else.</p>
<p>Along these lines, I've been kindof surprised by some of the people I know who are afflicted with this allergy -- few of them are very informed about it and when I've called to tell them what I've learned from this website, FAN, and other areas on the Internet, they've been amazed. And I'm thinking.... what is your doctor telling you, or not telling you??</p>
<p>--Tracy</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/1999 - 9:59am
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<p>Tracy,</p>
<p>I am taking my 2 year old son to the allergist for the first consultation visit on Feb. 16. I also intend to ask some of the same questions. I would love to compare answers with you and Colleen. I also got a e-mail today from FAN. It is a good article on Food allergy testing. Would you like me to post this note? It had a very interesting comment about the skin testing being more sensitive than the RAST. I am going to ask if this is true.</p>
<p>Good luck,<br />
Carol S.</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/14/1999 - 1:46pm
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Joined: 02/06/1999 - 09:00

<p>WOW, everyone has me thinking about my visit with the allergist a year ago and how he wouldn't test my son for other allergies. Because he wouldn't test him, we don't allow him near cats or dogs as my husband is very allergic to these animals. The allergist said, all most quote, that he would not test for other allergies because my son was too young and could either grow out of allergies or develop new ones. But now you've got me thinking about how I had to drag him away from the pony rides at the circus "just in case" he's allergic to horses too, would be lots easier to know what he is allergic to "right now". Look forward to reading doctor visits results.</p>

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