What makes an allergy life threatening?

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 10:46am
KaraLH's picture
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My dd has not had an ana rx. She is allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and pork.

What I am wondering is would you consider these "life threatening" allergies or do you not consider that until an ana rx??

Just curious.

Kara

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 10:51am
SallyL's picture
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I've always considered them to be potentially life threatening and treat them as such, since you never know what the reaction could be. My DD only had a small case of hives around the mouth at diagnosis, and the allergist said that even though the reaction was relatively minor, you never know when it could become life-threatening. Her allergy has since gotten worse (more sensitive to traces, higher RAST score) but we've never had an anaphalaxic reaction (Thank God!). But we're still supposed to assume it is.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 10:53am
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I meant to add that I've read in a number of places that all nut/peanut allergies should be considered at risk for anaphalaxis.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 11:08am
doofusclo's picture
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My pediatrician told me the story of how he saw a little girl die from her egg allergy when her parents gave her a bit of roll at a fast food joint. She died with medical intervention. He set the standard for my comfort zone. The danger is you never know the reaction level. I have meet a fire fighter with peanut allergies who eats peanuts - even after going to the emergency room with a bad reaction one day.
You have to decide your comfort zone and what you can live with.
Cindy

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 11:14am
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I'm not sure how you can tell if an allergy is life threatening or not(without seeing it). My son has had anaphylaxic reactions to peanuts, pistachios, eggs and sesame...that *I've* witnessed. Now I would like to know how another boy in 1st grade just gets hives if he eats peanut butter....I'd like to know his caprast to compare(although many here say rast scores don't matter) but I'd like to know why my son has almost died while this other boy gets hives if he eats it....it confuses me to no end! But.....I've seen my son react, so I know for a fact how serious it can be.
And as much as I hate to admit this, I never really took it seriously until I did witness an anaphylaxic reaction(from different foods even)....I learned the hard way.....take this very seriously!
edit-spelling
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, all seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut, green beans/all beans, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (peanut, tree nuts, milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig, hamster, grass, mold, dust mite and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk, beef and egg, dog(avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, seeds, legumes and corn)
[This message has been edited by chanda4 (edited September 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 11:57am
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Joined: 07/30/2007 - 09:00

As I posted in another thread, I have not had an ANA reaction. While there is a risk, my doctors don't consider it a high risk *for me* at this time, so they and I don't call it life-threatening. I haven't been FA very long and I know some FA adults and their children whose allergies are ANA, but I also know many FA adults who have lived with FA for anywhere from 20 to more than 60 years who have never had an ANA reaction and would not call their condition life-threatening either. As a whole, in my experience, most of us have a broader comfort zone than most on this board, yet still tend not to experience many of the allergy related physical problems that a lot of posters report here. While we're carefulin avoiding our allergens and would probably be even more so if it were our child instead of us, honestly, most adults with FA that I know are used to it and don't worry about dying from FA any more than they worry about dying from any other cause.
I come to this board because I'm relatively new to FA and there are things I'm interested in (like research) that more experienced FA adults in my life don't follow. They don't feel the need for support from an online board or other group, or have the interest in clinical trials. That's why I believe FA organizations, boards like these, research studies etc. tend to focus on children and/or those who have already had ANA reactions. I'm not sure if that's an omission that's good for researchers' and the FA community's full understanding of FA in the long run, but it is what it is at present.
I'm *not* giving medical advice, just sharing my direct experience and knowledge.
Each of us needs to handle our/our child's FA according to the advice of our own doctors and our own comfort zones. I'm just making the point that there are certainly people out there, both childhood-onset and adult-onset, who have had full, active lives for decades with FA that have been genuinely diagnosed by qualified physicians but have never become life threatening, and knock wood, never will.
------------------
(relatively recent adult onset non-ANA TNA/inconclusive PA)

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 12:22pm
booandbrimom's picture
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I think there are two issues here: whether you consider your child's (or your) allergy to be "life threatening" and whether you tell others it is.
I don't know if my son could have fatal anaphylaxis. From a practical perspective, it doesn't really matter. I wouldn't change my choices or my management plan if I knew for certain it was a possibility.
The issue of telling others those magic words - [i]life threatening[/i] - that's a different issue entirely. Personally I believe it's mostly hyperbole and that people actually take me less seriously if I run around saying that all the time. But it does seem to be the new en vogue term and acronym on the board.
I've found I usually do much better convincing people of the seriousness of my son's allergies by taking the opposite tack - talking about how rare death is with food allergies. I think people shut their ears if they think you're too over the top.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 12:44pm
PinkPoodle's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by booandbrimom:
[b]
The issue of telling others those magic words - [i]life threatening[/i] - that's a different issue entirely. Personally I believe it's mostly hyperbole and that people actually take me less seriously if I run around saying that all the time. But it does seem to be the new en vogue term and acronym on the board.
[/b]
I don't think you know whether or not the allergies are "life-threatening" without a reaction history, but all food allergies have the potential to threaten one's life. I hope people don't just close their ears, as booandbrimom predicts they do because my DD's allergist and pediatrician wrote letters stating that DD is high-risk for a fatal reaction to peanuts as she has already had a near-fatal anaphylactic reaction. The letter goes on to state, based on their medical opinion, that a minute amount of peanut could result in death. DD is contact, aerosol reactive to peanut and has CAP/RAST greater than 100. She also has other allergies: tree nuts--I still consider life-threatening though she is 'only' a Class 4 through testing and has not had exposure/ nor reaction, egg (I might be wrong, but I no longer consider them to be "life-threatening" and we informed the school of this but also cautioned that with allergies can change at any time--recent blood work was negative though skin test still +; we're waiting for another skin test and possibly food challenge), and some fruits (rash around her mouth and + IgE indicating the allergy is not oral allergy syndrome) which I don't consider "life-threatening".
Sorry, Kara, there is just no easy answer to how you know an allergy is life-threatening. I know my DD's first direct exposure to peanut resulted in a swift anaphylactic reaction, which is predictive of future reactions if she ingests again. It is hard to predict if your child has never had a reaction. I'd still cautiously assume they are 'life-threatening' [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I think booandbri's mom makes a good point in saying you can lose people by acting like every reaction will lead to death. It depends who you are sharing the information.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 1:06pm
cfkjc2's picture
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What is FA?

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 1:10pm
mama2aidan's picture
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Well for us....
I explain Aidan's first reaction. Short version is he was 13 months old when he ate a tiny piece of PB cookie. Within 30 minutes and benedryl given he was covered in hives. A raised burnt birth mark color over his entire body. We raced him to the ER and he was gasping raspily for breath as we got there. They gave him epinephrine and informed us that without the benedryl that the pediatrician said to give him he would not have made the five minute drive. That pretty much shows his history and punches a point.
He was tested a month later and those tests show his other allergies as high as his peanut one. He has also had two other anaphylaxis reaction that were stopped as soon as I gave him his epipen.
With that alone people take me seriously and I measure how *allergic* he is.
I say history plus testing. His SPT shows he has a mild allergy to soy this past year but he does fine with soy. He's reacted to eggs so that 4+ SPT result is very seriously taken. His shellfish SPT numbers are as well even though he hasn't had a known reaction because those are typical fast acting reactions for others. And in seafood Louisiana it is hard to avoid, but worth it if it gives him a chance to outgrow them
Bottom line is don't feed my kiddo....and if he shows signs of a reaction treat with epinephrine.
Also, he has had a SPT done at 14months, 3years, and 5 years. All numbers are consistent. His last SPT shows he outgrew his strawberry and pork allergies. That a lot of environmentals went down. To me consistent numbers give you a good idea as well.
Just my opinion. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] and really good question!
mandi

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 1:23pm
Edinview's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by cfkjc2:
[b]What is FA?[/b]
FA= Food Allergy

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