Posted in Food allergies

Back From The Allergist: And The Culprits Are…

We finally got to go to our appointment with a pediatric allergist last Wednesday at the Montreal Children’s Hospital after an approximately five month wait.  As the date approached, I became more and more anxious about what the consultation/results would yield (I’ve been having really weird dreams over the past 5 days), but now that it’s over, I must say that I am relieved.

I first met with an intern (the hospital is affiliated with McGill University) who took a brief family history with regards to allergies.  Then, we moved on to Charles’ allergies and she asked about what type of reaction he’d had and to what.  She was very thorough and specific with her questions asking about when the reactions were noticed (for Little Dude, it was after his third time eating a particular food item that he’d react), how quickly they manifested, what type of reaction (was it just on the skin as in hives, did it have an effect on the stools, did it affect the respiratory system…), how quickly the symptoms disappeared and how (for us, it was with the help of Benadryl).  I would strongly suggest anyone going in to meet an allergist for food allergies to keep notes and pictures documenting these informations.  (For the record, I actually did document all of this…except I forgot to bring my notes.)

After being sent back into the waiting room briefly, we were called in by the nurse who would perform the scratch test (aka:  prick test).  She tested cantaloupe, chicken, dairy, flaxseeds, eggs and two other things that I don’t remember for some reason.  After about a 5 minute wait, we rolled up the little guy’s sleeves.  Beside two of the 7 black dots, there was a very clear reaction.

It would seem that as of right now, my son is definitely allergic to dairy and flaxseeds.

*Sigh*

We then met the allergist who explained that the other reactions (which nearly all happened when solids were first being introduced) were probably caused by his system going into overdrive from the allergy to dairy.  She also prescribed an epinephrin injector (something our pediatrician didn’t want to do) because of the progression in symptoms in his allergy to dairy.  I had the choice between the epipen jr. and the allerject jr. and chose the latter because it “talks” the user through the procedure.

This is the one we have.  We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.
This is the one we have. We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.

Here’s what it looks/sounds like.

I picked the allerject instead of the epipen because I liked the it had voice instructions.  I figured that if my son does have a serious reaction to something he eats, I might be to panicked to remember what to do.  I also think that it’s great for when he’ll be staying with a sitter (whether it be my parents, in-laws or someone else).  This morning, I also went ahead and ordered an allergect tester and carrying case (free of charge).  The tester will allow me to hear and follow through the instructions as often as I want so that I can become more familiar with it.

What I really enjoyed about seeing the allergist is that, unlike our pediatrician, she didn’t make me feel like a bad mother for trying dairy and eggs so early in the first place.  She didn’t scold me and tell me I should have waited until 9 months for the eggs or 12 months for dairy.  In fact, she even told me that I had to become less shy with trying new foods.  She explained that just because my son had confirmed food allergies, to not shy away from peanuts and tree nuts or any other type of food.  Funny how the point of views differed vastly!

I was, of course, encouraged to continue to keep dairy out of my own (and his, of course!) diet until Charles is weaned and to be more attentive if I give my son other seeds like sesame seeds because the allergy to flaxseeds can mean an allergy to those too.

Call me crazy, but though a part of me is sad that he has food allergies for the moment, another part of me feels relieved that we know (at least part of) what’s going on with regards to food right now and that I wasn’t just imagining things and seeing a problem where there wasn’t one.  At the hospital, they’ll be doing follow-up appointments every 6 months to retest the allergy to dairy and flaxseeds and check out any new ones that might have become apparent.  Thought I’m kind of stressed out by the fact that I might actually have to use the epinephrin injector for my son in the future, I’m also feeling more confident in having him try new foods that I didn’t want to give to him because of the fear of a big reaction.

Here’s to hoping that the allergies will be temporary and there won’t be anymore in the future.

Did any of you have a child who grew out of a food allergy?
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Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

13 thoughts on “Back From The Allergist: And The Culprits Are…

  1. Allergies can be scary if you don’t know what caused them especially with kids. My husband knew he was allergic to chicken and eggs as a kid and it went away. However now that he is older, it’s back and hs eyelids gets inflammed whenever he eats them, even just a single bite.

  2. I’m so glad you have even more clarity about the whole thing! AND that the allergist was thorough, understanding, and helpful. The device you got is a great idea because, as you said, it will make it user-friendly for baby sitters – that’s awesome!
    Joshua didn’t have food allergies but he had viral and pollen-induced asthma as a young child (starting at 14 months). It was very stressful for us, but they said he would probably “outgow” it, as his lungs got more developed. Is that the case with food allergies? Can a child have intense allergies to something and then tollerate it later?

    1. Thanks! I was really happy too. I know that an allergy can develop at any time and disappear later. It happened to me with cats. I’ve also heard that a milk allergy can be one that disappears after the second year of life. Right now, we’re just going with the flow.

  3. Great idea to get he tester and practise lots. At school, we have to do regular training with the epipen in case of allergic reactions and I’m so much more confident going through it often and having a play around with a blank pen. I hope you never have to use the real one!

  4. So good to “know!” Would love to hear periodically how it goes with his symptoms as you progress through this! I know I was floored as I realized there are dairy proteins in things like cold meat and even some premixed garlic I bought. And the allergist sounds so helpful!

    1. It is indeed good to know. Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be doing follow-up posts as things progress. I remember having the same reaction as you upon learning that cold cuts could have dairy in them, the dietician I went to see to help me get dairy out of my diet is the one who told me, now I check everything. And yes, I really love our allergist, it’s such a relief!

    1. Thanks! I was actually surprised that they could test for food allergies on the skin; I was under the impression that the little guy would have to eat small amounts of the questionable foods and then be monitored and/or have his blood drawn. I am definitely NOT complaining that it wasn’t the case though!

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