Archive for the ‘Ask Me about Food Allergies’ Category

Will I Ever Outgrow My Food Allergies?

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I received the following question from a reader this morning, and I think many of us would like to know the answer. I would like to know what others have experienced.

“I have several food allergies eliminated from my diet, there is no change in my digestive health, will I ever be able to reintroduce some foods I miss so much? what other tips could I use to improve my digestive health, thank you.”

Before I begin the discussion, please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional. I am just a mom who has been dealing with food allergies for 22 years.

Lets’ start with our oldest son who started with his food allergies at 5 months old back in 1987. Our introduction into the world of food allergies was milk. Just a minute spec in a tiny taste of mashed potatoes sent his body into alert mode, head to toe hives, red skin, screaming at the top of his lungs with a very raspy throat and compromised breathing. As a result, I decided to continue nursing him for thirteen months. Later, via his Rast tests, we also found out he was allergic to egg even though his only suspected exposure to egg was through breast milk.

Twenty two years later, that milk allergy, along with egg, peanut and tree nuts still persists according to his Rast tests.

As we hesitantly introduced solid foods into his diet, he developed a pattern of safely eating a food for a year or two, and then developing an allergy to it. This happened with chicken, turkey, soy, watermelon, and nitrites. He was no older than four when most of his allergies presented themselves. The first time he ate kiwi, he develped a rash on his face, so we plucked that from his diet right away.

He ate oranges for 13 years before an unexpected reaction, which happened to send him to the ER. No previous warnings at all! At age 16.5, the orange allergy magically disappeared. His rast showed negative, and he passed the food challenge with flying colors.

We never attempted to give him peanuts or tree nuts since his skin tests were positive and his Rast scores were ridiculously high as a toddler. I remember his peanut score was reported as “>100″ back in 2002. I always thought it odd that the report showed a “greater than” sign. I interpret it to mean that at some point the exact score doesn’t matter.

He strictly avoids anything that he is allergic to. No cheating allowed. I was and still am too scared.

The soy allergy lasted only a short while and the doc took him off Nutramegin and put him back onto soy formula. I let him use the soy formula for years in his cereal to keep the nutrients flowing his way. I didn’t know of any Silk-type fortified rice or soy drinks to switch him to back in the late 80’s.

The chicken, turkey and watermelon allergies lasted for more than ten years, into his early teens. I periodically would request new testing for him and once his scores showed up negative, we did a food challenge.

There is no allergy test for nitrites, so he was told to avoid them. Of course, when he went off to college and was no longer under my supervision, he somehow managed to do his own food challenge with the help of a friend who practiced her Epi shooting skills into a plump and juicy orange. Yeah, I bet you can’t wait for your children to be off on their own after reading that tidbit. At least, they had several Epi-pens out on the coffee table “just in case”. And he actually did know the proper way to perform the challenge since he had done them many times with supervision. The big risk was not having a negative Rast test or skin test to warrant the challenge.

To this day, he still has to avoid milk, egg, peanut and tree nuts. His Rast for Almond and Pecan have shown negative, but we can’t find either nut that’s not cross-contaminated. It seems to be common practice to use the same trucks to haul tree nuts from the field to the factory. For example, the first load might be walnuts and the following load might be almonds.

At this point we’re waiting and watching. Most of his Rast scores have dropped in the past seven years, but are still in the “very allergic” category. Some have even gone up a hair, but I attribute that to human error and lab technique. This stuff is not perfect. I’m a mother, so I speculate.

I don’t have any real answers. I pray every day for the researchers who are trying to come up with a cure, and I am cautiously optimistic about what I read. I keep thinking that in 5 years he’ll only be 28, and in 10 years he’ll only be 32. I can wait that long. Come to think of it, I have no choice.

Onto son number two who is now twenty years old. He wasn’t allowed to eat anything his brother was allergic to for the first year of his own life. At age one, on a brave day, I gave him less than one drop of milk and he had the same reaction that his brother had 2.5 years earlier. RATS!

His initial battery of Rast tests showed allergies to milk, egg, and peanut. We were good at avoiding them, so we did.

I periodically requested testing for him and at age thirteen I got the call that every mom is waiting for. They were all negative. Of course, I cried. When I finally pulled myself together, I requested skin tests to be sure the Rasts were accurate. Confirmed. Negative. At that point, we jumped into the food challenges, saving the dreaded peanut challenge for last. Milk, good. Egg, good. And believe it or not, peanut, good.

So, in reality, I have no answers on this topic, just stories. I hope you find most of them encouraging. And I hope that some of my experienced readers will log in and comment. As usual, it’s always a good idea to check with your allergist to see what she/he thinks, since each allergy is so unique.

Best of luck to all of you, and you’ll be amongst the first to know if Bud outgrows anything else.

Regards, Ann

Need Info Regarding Fruit Allergy

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Just got an e-mail from a reader requesting information regarding fruit allergies. Any comments on the topic from readers with experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!