Retesting For Allergies

By Heather Legg

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment today and while we were there, I finally had all of her allergies formed filled out so I could get her medication to school. As this is a doctor we’ve only been seeing a few months, we talked about her allergy.

She asked if we had a current allergist, but I told her we don’t really for a few reasons. We weren’t happy with who we had seen, and since my daughter hasn’t had a reaction in years. We sort of stayed away from the allergists. Her suggestion was to see one again, and if she has grown out of it, we will know and can worry less.

I completely see her point. But I think a lot goes into it. I know that skin tests are not always completely accurate when it comes to food allergies. Many false positives are reported. And so are false negatives. According to data, the best and only real measure is an oral challenge where the patient eats the substance in a controlled environment. Scary! Even if she is not allergic anymore, allergies are such a scary experience that none of us in my family really eat nuts anymore.

I also know that food allergies are so complicated. One year there may be an allergy, the next nothing, and then down the road it can reappear and have other food allergies with it. I guess I think that if she is not allergic according to a skin test, what will that change? Less worry? Will I still tote around an Epipen? And if it is positive, will I become stricter on what she can eat? Will I believe it?

Part of me says take the leap and do a food challenge test. She is old enough to decide for herself now if she wants to take it. But that is quite scary! Often when a food has been avoided, the person will grow out of the allergy, but on the other hand, the reaction could be worse than ever.

I sort of find it hard to believe that she has ingested no nuts over the past four or five years, yet she has had no allergic reactions. Is it because we are more careful, or that she has grown out of it. I often neglect to ask at places if nuts are in something, and unless we see it in something, she can eat it.

I don’t know really what to do. If I knew the answers would be more conclusive, I may do it. But I don’t know if I want an iffy answer…

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