January 2010 - St. Louis Children's Hospital
Department of Allergy
Weeks preceding Austin's allergy appointment, we received paperwork in the mail. Included was the normal basic information, as well as several pages of intense questions about his life from conception till now. We also received a page entitled "What to Expect at your Allergy Appointment". I truly appreciated this sheet. It outlined the skin tests that would need to be performed and how to prepare for them (no benadryl for days preceding the appointment). This page also stated that these appointments typically last 3-4 hours. Yikes, how were we to keep a 1 year old occupied and happy for that time period. And, nap time was smack dab in the middle of the appointment. Oh well, this appointment was very necessary for Austin and we (I) would have to adapt.
The appointment began with normal stat checks with the nurse. Austin was in a panic. Just two weeks prior, he had his 1 year big boy appointment at the pediatrician, which included several shots and a finger prick. Poor guy is beginning to remember what happens in a doctor's office.
Dr. Bloomberg came in to visit with Austin and us. He was a delightful man. He was even dressed in a bow tie - fun! Dr. Bloomberg specializes in pediatric allergy and asthma. He spend hours in the room with us, asking questions, answering questions, and sharing information. He explained in detail how the skin test would be performed and slipped out while the nurse came in to perform the test.
Austin had 3 panels placed on his back. It was difficult for Adam and me to put him through the test. But knowing that Austin has a food allergy and could potentially be harmed if he ingested an unknown allergen - we braved the test. The actual placement of the panels on his back did not hurt him. The nurse did not use harsh pressure. She simply just touched the panel to his back for a second and then removed it. The test lasted about 15 minutes. In that time, we just had to try to keep Austin from scratching his back. But he was allowed to play freely in the exam room, even eat some snacks. His back looked terrible, red and inflamed. However, he really did not seem to mind at all.
After 15 minutes the nurse and Dr. Bloomberg came back in to measure his bumps. The test confirmed a positive allergy to egg and peanuts. We were given packets of information to teach us how to read food labels and live with food allergies.
Austin will go back in July for more allergy testing. Dr. Bloomberg is watching his egg allergy closely. A majority of children do outgrow egg allergy by the age of 5. Austin is also on a watch list for asthma. Some children with eczema and egg allergy then go on to develop asthma as they age. He will most likely not outgrow his peanut allergy, as far as we understand, peanut allergies do not follow typical patterns and are difficult to track.
For now we are armed with an epi pen and benadryl at all times. I am overly cautious regarding everything Austin eats. We do have accidents - just had one last week, and it was my fault. Thankfully, we realized the egg in the noodles before the situation turned serious. I am learning to keep egg free banana muffins in the freezer to take with us to birthday parties - so, Austin can eat "birthday cake" too.