Saturday, October 1, 2011

Food Allergies 101

I alluded to this in the last post---beliefs about food allergies vary greatly, even in the medical world. The following information is based on the views of the doctors at National Jewish, and, importantly the top allergists in the world, and, also by many of those who have had lots of personal experience with food allergies.

I will use Samuel's body to explain. We came here solely in hopes of discovering if there was a food we were missing. I was suspicious of beef, tomato, white potato and sesame. Not all of them, but wondered if one was causing his flares. In his nearly four years, allergists have tested him to the first two on the list, and, each time the tests came back positive. However, we thought they were false positives and left them in his diets. But recently, I started to wonder.

According to Dr. Fleischer at NJ you are not allergic to a food unless it causes hives or symptoms of anaphylaxis. Also interestingly, you will not gain any new allergies. Except, there are times that one can become allergic later on to shellfish. So there would be no reason to test for new allergies.

Those are big statements for mamas like me to wrap our heads around. One, we are so desperate to find any answer that can help severe eczema flares. And, this view is not commonly held. In fact, our dermatologist (whose son has severe FA) and our beloved allergist would not draw that line. They would both say that flared eczema could be a symptom.

But Fleischer (who is one of the two top dogs here) says no. I feel that it is possible to have a "milder" allergy to a certain food...and where one might not stop breathing upon ingestion, one could certainly get flares. Not according to Fleischer. There is not such thing as a mild food allergy.

So, as in the case with Samuel---we are not missing any food. It is a waste of time and money (and certainly heart) looking for THE food that is reaking havoc. Since Samuel is no longer contact reactive to milk, we have not seen hives in a while. And (except one small incident this summer) we haven't had anaphylaxis symptoms either in a long time.

I am so thankful to Dr. Fleischer because he very respectfully wants me/us to leave Denver believing deeply in our hearts that this is the case. He doesn't want us getting back to Memphis and still wondering about a food. Love him for this. Because truthfully, there have been many times when I was given false info from medical doctors in the past re: Samuel. Each time I did not believe them, and each time, I was right.

I could say much more about this, but trying to say it briefly.

Friday Samuel had a scratch test to environmental allergies in TN (horrible!! so allergic!!) and a blood draw (very difficult, even Daddy cried as they had trouble getting blood) to test for IgE in blood.

They should have the results back on Monday. At that point we will do a few more skin tests (called puddle tests) and start eating the suspicious foods looking for reactions. Which is the only way to really know. I don't know how long all that will take. We are supposed to be here for 10 more days. I hope we can finish our work by then.

NOW for the FUN NEWS! Daddy and Eli flew in on Friday! We have loved being with them. Today (Saturday) S had to go in for a bath and wrap, so we used the last bit of our morning to go to the aquarium which was fun. Tomorrow we are headed toward Golden for hiking and "seeing mountains" as Samuel keeps mentioning.

this was S's favorite part of the aquarium---seeing swimmers in the tank

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