Ever since we first found out that our kids had allergies, we have always worried about when the next allergy might pop up. We’ve encountered a few over the years and each one has been very scary.
We knew Pumpkin was allergic to peanuts and pistachios and we knew Dumpling was allergic to Amoxicillin, but we have always wondered what else might be out there that might cause our girls to have a reaction. Not only that, but Pumpkin has been pretty much constantly sniffly, sneezy and wheezy for as long as I can remember now. We’ve done breathing treatments and all sorts of other things to try to figure it out, but nothing seemed to cure the issue…just treat the symptom.
A few months ago, I finally decided to make an appointment with an allergy specialist. The wait to get in for an appointment that wouldn’t interfere with school was long, but yesterday we finally got to talk to a doctor that specializes in this stuff and can help us finally take care of our girls!
If you’ve never been through an allergy test, here’s how it goes…The doctor talked to use about our concerns in order to decide which allergens to test for. For Dumpling, our concerns were minimal, so he only ran one set of allergens on her (that means 8 allergens in one set). For Pumpkin, we had more concerns, so she had to have a total of five different sets of allergens (that’s 40 allergens, folks).
The girls had to lay on their tummies, the nurse cleaned the area and then applied the allergens using a bristle-like device (see the picture at left) that breaks the skin a bit and lets the liquid allergen get in. Then, the girls had to wait 15 minutes (that’s the hard part – can’t move, can’t scratch) to see the results.
It was not pleasant to watch them go through it, but even the girls were thankful to finally find out once and for all about their allergies. They both cried (Pumpkin much more because she was so itchy), but the 15 minutes went by fairly quickly and the nurse was quick to apply cream to help the itching just as soon as the doctor (who was very quick and attentive) got a chance to look at them.
It turns out, there were hidden allergies and I’m so glad we had the allergy testing done on both so we don’t run into unexpected reactions.
My little Dumpling came out of it not too bad off. We did find out (as you can see above) that she’s allergic to shellfish. We now carry an Epi-Pen Jr. for her just in case she encounters it at some point. We explained to her that she cannot eat crab, lobster or other “fish with shells” but I highly doubt it will be an issue since there’s no shellfish in macaroni and cheese (that I know of).
Pumpkin, on the other hand, took a bit of a beating.
Pumpkin is not nearly as lucky. She’s unfortunately highly allergic to cats, cashews and peanuts. That means we have to cut out all nuts, which pretty much broke her heart because she loves macadamia nuts (which she has not reacted to…YET), but the doctor said that a reaction could happen at any time and we should cut it out to be safe since it is a tree nut.
So, we know to keep Pumpkin away from cats and nuts, but what we really took away from this testing is that she also has several environmental allergens (including dust mites) and that explains her sneezing, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. We can now combat those problems by making a few changes around the house and starting a few daily medications to help her breathe better and fight the allergens. She is so excited to finally be able to sleep without coughing her head off.
While the testing itself was no fun at all, it was very much worth finding out about those hidden allergies. I am not a big fan of surprises of the anaphylactic sort, so this was a good day for us. We know what to look out for, we know what to do around our home and we know how to take better care of our babies.
Have you ever been through this type of allergy testing with your kids?