TESTING

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My son is scheduled to see an allergist in about a month and a half after experiencing hives, inability to swallow, & vomitting withing 15 seconds of eating 3 small pieces of cashew (did have peanut oil). I just want some information on what kind of tests are run and what to expect. Should I prepare him for it? He is four years old.

On Apr 20, 2000

Naomi, My son, who is 2, just had his tests done this past Monday. We didn't know what to expect either. The allergist will take a full history from you, give your son a check-up and then probably perform the skin patch test. They will decide what allergens to test, such as peanuts, tree nuts, mold, mildew, etc. They will ask you to take his shirt off and he will have to sit with his back facing outwards. They will mark his back with an ink pen and then prick him with each allergen to test him. It is fairly painless, my son didn't even flinch. He did sit on his dad's lap and he sat there calmly during the entire procedure, which took about 3 minutes to complete. He had about 15 pricks. Then you will wait and see what prick swells into what looks like a mosquito bite. Those are the allergens he is allergic too. My son was positive for peanuts and cats, but did fine with tree nuts. I also heard of a cap rast test from reading this website, but the doctor didn't mention it to us as an option. I believe this is a blood test. When my son goes for a follow-up in six months, I will ask for this rast testing to be done. Do you have to wait a whole month and a half to see the allergist? That seems like a long time to have to wait. Good luck. I'm still new at this, so I'm sure you will receive many other informative responses. Dawn

On Apr 20, 2000

Dawn, The nurse at our pediatricians office made the appointment for us. A friend of mine at our church has a daughter who is 7 years old and is allergic to milk. She has an appointment in about 2 weeks and offered to cancel her appointment so that I could take her slot. She called today and the lady said she would have to talk to the doctors first and let us know. My friend said that I should not wait that long knowing the severity and how quick his reaction was. So hopefully we will not have to wait that long.

On Apr 20, 2000

Naomi,

For my son's first appointment we had to fill out the longest questionaire I have ever seen. It asked things such as - how old are pillows were, family history, questions about skin, wheezing, etc. The doctor came into one of his exam rooms and did a quick exam on Eli. Then he had us get Eli dressed and go to his office. We sat in there going over his history and his reactions. The doctor explained food allergies, eczema (which Eli has) and asthma (which he is at risk for). I have never spent that much time with a doctor before.

Then we went into another office and watched two films on allergies and anaphylaxis. A nurse came in and showed us how to use an Epi-Pen. He also went over the exposure plan and made us repeat it. (It felt like we were being tested) Then the doctor came in and made us show him how to use the Epi-Pen and asked us if we had any questions.

Eli had to come back the following week for scratch testing. They didn't test that day but felt like his history warranted the Epi-Pen without confirmation via test results.

Our allergist prefers to do scratch testing on children under the age of three. If he has reason to, he will then go on to blood tests.

The only blood test we have had thus far, was a tryptase level.

Each doctor is different, so you may just want to call and ask them what you should expect. Ours made it very clear that our first appointment would be over 2 hours.

I always try to tell Eli what to expect. And as for the scratch testing, I can't hold Eli. I'm a wuss and so is my husband. So, I make my mom come. She is a nurse and does a great job.

The only other advice is, make sure you have somebody else with you. It will make things SO much easier.

Kristene

On Apr 20, 2000

Naomi, When we went to the allergist, we had to fill out a family history questionairre also - Very long form. We had already been given EPI pens by our family doctor, but he did have us try the EPI trainer. The only other thing that I wanted to add, was that my son's allergist said that given our son's history of reaction to peanuts, that he would not do a skin test because he was afraid that the skin test in someone that allergic could cause a systemic reaction. He said that the skin prick test is more acurate, but that blood test is almost as accurate. He wanted to verify that Alex is allergic to peanuts and rule out other nuts. I would call ahead to find out what to expect at your allerist. Hope all goes well. Let us know how it turns out.

On Apr 21, 2000

My son has been tested a number of times and it is always done with the skin prick tests. I've been to two different allergists and neither has ever suggested the blood test that I hear so much about. As another poster said, it is quite an easy test. The skin pricks themselves never bothered my son, he only gets bothered when he starts to react and then his back will start itching. Most likely they will test your child for the 8 most offending food allergens. Whether they decide to test for environmental allergens will depend on what symptoms your child experiences in daily life. Christine

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