Friday, February 18, 2011

Disinformation overload

Help!
I’ve just spent the last two hours trying to find some answers on the net. The result? So much typing, so much searching, so few answers.

Words that are now swirling around in my head? Allergy testing – Ige, Igg, blood tests, Rast tests, Nash tests… so many tests that are possible. Trying to sort through the information that is relevant for allergy immune responses as opposed to intestinal reactions. I’ve reasoned to myself now that when our son has an allergic immune reaction to a food, he gets a rash and diaorreah. When it is a gastro-intestinal/digestive problem, he just gets the runs. For the first, avoid this food – it goes to the very back of the list in terms of foods we try (in other words, probably not for a couple of years). The latter, our son’s body isn’t quite ready for this yet, but perhaps try it in 6 months time when his body is more developed. Examples? Rockmelon, oats and cucumbers have been our latest allergy failures. Rash and the runs after only two bites. Intestinal difficulty? Vegemite... actually that’s it. 

I hear old wive's tales about giving kids small amounts over time and gradually their body will get used to it. This applies to intolerances, but DEFINITELY NOT to immune responses/allergies. In fact, if there is a true allergy, everytime you introduce that allergen/food to your kid, the allergic response increases! So although you might only get a rash the first time, the second time you could get a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Mind you, telling the difference between an intolerance and an allergy is tricky, and I'd definitely recommend a skin prick test for that one. As for the other tests... the jury is out on that one - there are sites that advocate all sorts of testing... usually they are linked financially to a company that does the test. The critics on the other hand are just as plentiful. It seems that the dispute arises from how many false negative and false positive results you end up with and which is more harmful.

Cross reactivity of protein allergens… what? I hear you say! Exactly my sentiment. I was trying to find a list of food groups that would help me determine which foods I should try next and which ones I should avoid knowing our son’s long list of food allergies. What I found, or rather what I got, was total confusion on my part. It is possible that because our son has an allergy to cucumber, he might also be allergic to latex. Actually, it’s the other way around. If you are allergic to latex, you could be allergic to cucumber because the pollens are similar.  But if you cook the cucumber, the risk is reduced. Hmmm, interesting… now I should be wary of latex?

Ok, my brain is officially fried for today and probably the rest of the week. If anyone out there can help – either by reading through the info for me, or by posting a link of some useful sites, please do!

My conclusion? Stop looking on the net… ring our allergy dietician and book an appointment for a face to face chat with someone with real experience that comes with a helping hand.

3 comments:

  1. What, you think it's better to talk to a professional you trust, than to rely on opinionated people on the internet whom you've never met? How old-fashioned of you!

    Seriously though, I hope you find out the info you need. Good luck :)

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  2. Wow! Lots of great insights here. Was this the doc that has a 12 month waitlist? You really are an amazing mum.

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  3. No, it was pretty easy getting an appt with the dietician. Our allergy specialist is going into semi-retirement and the waiting list to see him for our annual test is over 12 months! So now we'll go back to the GP for a new referral I think. It was good going back to the dietician though... I'll save it for another post...

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