Last Thursday, we went for Little Dude’s follow-up appointment with his pediatric allergist. It was freezing cold and there was oddles of traffic so I’m super happy we took the train and subway to go to the hospital.
We first sat down with the doctor who asked how things were going allergy-wise. She was thrilled when I told her that we had successfully introduced milk in baking and cooking. I also talked about the insane reaction that Little Dude had after taking Amoxil a couple of months ago. Then, after some more waiting in the toy-filled waiting room, we went back in to see the nurse who would conduct the scratch test. This time, she skipped the synthesized dairy altogether and used a drop of fresh milk right off the bat. I was really eager to see how it would go, because last time, the test spot started reacting before we were even out of the nurse’s office.
Well, it turns out that we would be receiving good news.
1. Despite the fact that Charles did react again to the fresh milk, his reaction was so small that the allergist gave us the green light to try hard cheeses with Charles. She went on to say that if the hard cheeses were ok, that we could then try softer ones and even yogurt!
2. Because Charles’ reaction was smaller than the control spot, the allergist is pretty confident that Little Dude’s dairy allergy will be history by the time he’s 3. We will have a follow-up appointment in 6 months to keep monitoring his progress.
3. It turns out that the little guy isn’t allergic to penicillin. Though he had an immune reaction, it wasn’t an allergic reaction. It was a serum-sickness-like reaction to either a virus or the Amoxil. Since there’s no way to know which it was, I was told to avoid the Amoxil, but told that other forms of penicillin should be fine.
Perhaps, by his 3rd birthday, Charles will be able to have some buttercream icing or whipped cream on his cake!
So today we went back to see Charles’ pediatric allergist to retest his reaction to dairy and flaxseeds. I decided to take him into the city with the commuter train.
He was really excited when the train arrived on the platform and we lost no time in boarding. Charles happily sat down while we waited for the train to leave, but when it did he had the surprise of his life! Oh my, he became so startled when he realized that the scenery outside the window was moving, he quickly gestured that he wanted to sit on me. Of course, his surprise isn’t really surprising, when we’re in a vehicle, he’s always strapped in. This time, though he had more freedom. As soon as he realized this, he became super happy and split his time between looking out the window and chattering with the random people who would pass by us inside the train.
We arrived at our appointment with about 20 minutes to spare and were called in rather quickly. We first went to see the allergist who asked how everything was going and if we had discovered new reactions. When I mentioned basil, she told me that she thought (given the very small reaction he gets) that it is more of an irritation than an actual allergy. She was also very happy to hear that the little guy eats a variety of foods and wasn’t bothered when I told her that, besides water and juice, Charles has a variety of non-dairy milks instead of toddler formula (even though she had suggested we keep him on soy-based toddler formula until 2 years of age). I guess she found him to be pudgy enough to go without the formula 😉
We then went back to the waiting room and Little Dude had fun drawing with the markers while I listened for his name to be called. It didn’t take very long until it was his turn and back we went for the skin scratch test. The nurse tested his reaction to dairy and flaxseeds and we were sent back to the waiting room for 10 minutes. I expected the patch of skin exposed to dairy to react very quickly as it had six months ago, but was hopefully optimistic when, after 5 minutes, there was still no reaction to be found. By the time we were called back in, Charles had had a very small reaction to dairy (a LOT) smaller than the first time ’round and absolutely no reaction to flaxseeds!
Score 1 for Charles!
Because of the big difference in reactions to dairy after a six month dairy-free period, a second scratch test was then done with a drop of real milk on his skin (as opposed to the synthesized dairy solution that had been used earlier). This time, we weren’t even back in the waiting room and his skin had already started to puff up around the scratch. Oh well, we can’t win them all now, can we?
Nonetheless, our allergist was super positive about the results. She encouraged me to try flaxseeds again, starting with very small quantities mixed in with other stuff and working our way up to bigger quantities if Little Dude doesn’t react. She also explained that since Charles had hardly reacted to the first dairy test of the day, we should go ahead and try to use cows milk when we bake (and work our way up from there). She explained that the solution they first used didn’t contain all of the proteins that fresh milk does and that this usually indicates that though I very clearly still can’t give the little guy a glass of milk to drink, I can use it in recipes because once it is heated up and mixed with other stuff, its composition changes enough that Charles’ body doesn’t recognize it as being a danger.
Perhaps, in January, when we have another follow-up appointment, I’ll have more good news!
So….score 2 for Charles, right?
A part of me is excited by the news, but another part of me is still fearful. I mean, I know I should try flaxseeds and dairy in baking recipes, but this is my little boy we’re talking about. We always have benadryl on hand and an epinephrin injector, but still…
I will try though.
Does anyone have experience to share in the realm of disappearing allergies and progressive re-exposure to the past allergen?
I’ve talked about my son’s food allergies before. His dairy and flaxseed allergies are diagnosed and he is followed by a pediatric allergist to track their evolution.
However, the little guy has been having reactions to something else and we just couldn’t put our finger on it. As it happens, most of his reactions would happen when he would eat chicken at daycare. Except we tested for chicken and his allergy test came up negative (not to mention that he eats the stuff at home with no problem).
Eventually, we figured that he was allergic to a herb or spice. Yeah, that’s helpful. Companies aren’t required to list all the spices used in their ingredients so we had to go through some trial and error.
And yesterday, when he had another reaction at daycare (this time, he wasn’t eating chicken) we finally figured it out. The culprit is basil!
His body’s reaction isn’t as strong as it is to dairy: just a few small hive spots here and there and the contour of his mouth becomes red (kind of like a clown face), but neither bother him.
But seriously, who in the world is allergic to basil? LOL! I didn’t even know that such an allergy existed (though, I figure I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, everyone’s immune system has the potential to react to anything I suspect).
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.
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.
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?