Last week, our 14 month old son had an appointment with an allergist for possible PA. We did the skin prick test for other allergens, but because of info posted on this board, we opted to do a safer RAST for the peanut (he was scheduled for a lead test anyhow, so it was a one "stick" job). Anyhow, he tested allergic to cats, dogs and eggs with the skin prick test.
Our pediatrician's office called with the RAST results. The nurse told me that he is PA and that the results were being faxed to the allergist as requested. I asked her about the results and she said he tested at a 17.7, but she had no idea what that meant. I have to wait to talk to the allergist when she's back to work on Monday.
Can anyone tell me what a 17.7 means on a RAST? What is the scale? Does this really tell me anything at all, other than he's allergic?
Thanks. Just wanted some more info before the holidays so we don't have to dwell on the what if's over the weekend!
On Dec 22, 1999
RAST results are expressed in either KU/L or as a percentage response of the specimen compared to the 0.35 KU/L calibrator. The nurse gave you the KU/L. I have a chart from my daughters test and a 17.7 KU/L puts your son in a IGE Class 4 on a scale of 0-6 which is considered a "Very High level" of IGE antibody, in % response it is between 601-2000. My daughter was KU/L >100 puting her at a 6, which is as high as the chart goes. I have found that most people refer to there allergy in terms of the specific IGE class. The important thing to determine if someone is allergic, not how allergic they are. Someone with a lower Specific IGE class then my daughter for instance could still have a fatal reaction. Hopefully your doctor will inform you of all the specifics, but complete avoidance of peanuts is the key.
[This message has been edited by Renee (edited December 22, 1999).]
On Dec 22, 1999
Thank you for your quick response.
I've been reading the website with a different perspective than I have the last few weeks, now that I know Gabe is allergic. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now and scared for my little boy. He's already been through a lot in his young life. I have so many questions going through my head and more than anything just want some reassurance...which I know no one can give me. I keep telling myself that if this is the worst obstacle we face, we'll be o.k.
The biggest issue I'm thinking of right now is probably deserving of a new thread ...our son was adopted at 3 months old. He is Cambodian. EVERYTHING I've read so far states something to the effect of "avoid southeast asian cuisine." How is this possible for us? Our son needs to connect in some meaningful way with his birth culture...we live in an area with a small Cambodian community....every social opportunity revolves around food. He will always be the "different kid" to begin with...the asian kid with white parents. Now he'll be the asian kid who can't eat oriental food?! The implications for his self-esteem, cultural identity are enormous.
Practically all Cambodian food is made with peanuts. The Cambodian restaurant we visit reeks of peanuts as soon as you walk in. I'm scared to death to even take him in the restaurant now.
I'm sorry; I'm just an overwhelmed mom who really needs to go to bed now.
On Dec 23, 1999
Dear Jennifer, Sorry to hear about your son's new allergies. I am Chinese and my husband is half-Chinese and our son also has peanut allergy in addition to other common allergies. You were right when you said that most social events revolve around food in Asian culture. For the most part, we hardly go out to restaurants anymore. Our friends and family know are more understanding to our concerns and tend to invite us over for homemade meals without any peanuts in the food. When we did take our son to restaurants, we made sure that we brought him his own food and confined him in a high chair (with his own tray so he could not reach the food on the table). I am sure that there are some Cambodian dishes that do not contain peanut in it. In a way, it is good that the Cambodian group you know is small so it is easier for you to explain your son's allergy to them and to get their cooperation. By the way, my son can eat soy products which is also a common food in Asia. You may want to also find out if your son is allergic to soy.
As most people in this group may tell you, things will get better as you get to know what to do and how to do it. Good luck!
On Dec 23, 1999
Thank you, Vicky. Your response makes me feel so much better. I think you're right that the size of the community may be to our advantage. We also occasionally get together with other adoptive parents with kids from Cambodia (and China, Vietnam and Korea). We're all pretty used to being advocates for ourselves and our kids; so this should just be another layer to that. I expect that they'll be pretty understanding.
Gabe seems to be fine with soy (he was not tested). He LOVES tofu more than he loves watching Sesame Street(!) and eats it at least 4x per week. We're vegetarian, so we eat lots of tofu and beans (although the baby also gets some chicken and fish). So, I guess soy products are not an issue for us at this time.
The egg allergy is a bummer for him though. He used to love scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. We never noticed a specific egg reaction, but I think that's because he ate a great deal of products with egg in them....he was constantly constipated and his eczema was awful. He's been 2 weeks without egg and his skin is gorgeous and the constipation is completely gone.
Thank you again for your response, Jennifer
On Dec 24, 1999
Dear Gabesmom, My 4-year PA son is half Chinese. He is also allergic to soya and shellfis. His dad is Chinese-Malaysian, and believe me he and all his family LIVE for food as do all Malaysians (no not a cultural generalizations. every Malaysian I have met is ppproud to admit they live for food). This has proved very difficult on a number of occassions. Our son has no problems with barbecued pork or duck dishes. Never acept anything with a sauce. Good luck.
On Jan 1, 2000
Dear Gabes Mom, I know that this must be an overwhelming time for you. You will become more informed and help people that have contact with your son help you keep him safe. I would like to suggest a visit to the Food Allery Network site as well. I have found the combonation of these two site to be a wealth of information for medical updates, for support and great suggestions on how to deal with everything from how to get peole to take you seriously to a place to vent your frustration. Stay Safe