Wednesday, May 27, 2009

allergy testing

I am Peanut Phobic. My mom has a severe peanut allergy and I grew up without them. I was tested for a peanut allergy years ago and surprised when they said I was safe. My allergist suggested I keep my kids off peanuts for five years, which was not a problem. I keep a peanut free house and can smell the things a mile away. CD takes all the peanut Halloween candy off our hands and eats it in the privacy of his office. Good riddance.

Unfortunately, the schools and the church have these pesky forms to complete that ask if my children have any allergies and what reaction is likely to occur. I go through this routine every year as I explain that they've never had any peanuts so I don't know if they'd have a reaction or not. The authorities are displeased by this answer.

Since Bug is starting public school and is now five, I decided it was time to get formal testing done. They had to have appointments on different days for skin testing unfortunately, so I debated about who to condemn first, knowing the one untested would be observing. They both had screaming reactions to the prospect of flu shots, so the choice was difficult. If it was awful, I finally decided, Pook would throw a loud tantrum but I could verbally convince him into going, whereas Bug would throw a loud and physical tantrum and would be harder to wrestle into following Pook. Bug first.

Bug has had sniffly sneezy allergy symptoms every spring and fall. He was tested for lots of pollens, grasses and trees, as well as peanuts. The doctor, and then the nurse, showed him the "crab" that would "prickle" his back. Oh no, it did not prickle. That child, who doesn't like to be seen crying, sobbed silently into the stiff paper pillow. We praised him up and down and told him he'd done great. And then the doctor decided to do seven follow up pricks, each with a needle. The nurse suggested I hold him, but I couldn't even catch him (amazing, considering he was on the doctor's narrow paper lined table). I hadn't thought to bring Teddy, or even a lollipop bribe unfortunately. She was patient and persuasive and I finally wrangled him onto my lap. Seven times she pricked the skin with a needle and injected a bit of allergen into his arm while he observed the whole process. When she left he cried and left tiny dots of blood on my shirt.

Results? No allergies. Not to peanuts, not to plants. He has very sensitive skin and showed lots of red bumps, but none were "significant". It was called "nonallergic rhinitis" and explains why all the antihistamines I've given him over the years never really seemed to help. Instead we now have a nasal spray sample to try next time it becomes a problem.

This isn't what I expected; I'd hoped to be told to start him on antihistamines every March and that he'd be able to stop taking them when the season for whatever-it-was was over, but I'm relieved. And when we stopped at the Farmer's Market he chose a peanut butter granola bar for his treat but didn't like it).

Pook goes Friday. We've decided to only test him for peanuts so the appointment should be short and sweet and hopefully include no crying. He won't eat peanuts even if they're safe, since he's become peanut phobic too, but it'll be good to know.

Pook's results: no peanut allergy!


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