Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Allergy Q &A

I've been receiving questions lately about Witt and how we deal with certain aspects of his allergies, so I thought I'd make a post out of them.

A little background for those of you that are new to BRML: Witt is our youngest son (now 2 years old) and is anaphylactic to dairy if he ingests it and breaks out in hives when it touches his skin (contact allergy). He has also tested positive to egg white, egg yolk, and peanuts - but he has never had or touched those so we don't know the exact severity.

His annual testing is in December and last year his blood tests came back negative while the skin tests came back positive. It's always good news to have some negatives when talking food allergies! :)

Right now I can only think of one instance where something touched him earlier this year at a church meal and he had a tiny hive on his face. Other than that, he has had no contact with any of his allergens this year that I can think of.

Now that you are up-to-date... on to the latest questions:

Over on MustFollowRecipes, I received this question:

I have not tried the addition of nutritional yeast because I read the label this weekend and saw the disclaimer on processing around nuts, eggs, and milk (yada yada yada). I noticed in one of your cheese posts that you noted that Witt is anaphylactic to dairy, so I just wanted to confirm your comfort level on the nutritional yeast.

Yes, you are correct, Witt is anaphylactic to dairy. We are very fortunate in that he has never had a reaction to foods with the "processed with/on" disclaimer. So for now, unless milk, eggs, or peanuts are list as an actual ingredient we generally try it. As for nutritional yeast, we have used it for over a year now... again, with no reaction. I think it adds a really great flavor to many dishes. I add it to chicken casserole, chicken salad, spaghetti sauce, and just about anything that could use some Parmesan. :)

What is the difference between Witt's peanut allergy and his ability to drink almond milk?

Almonds are tree nuts and peanuts are not. Witt is not allergic to tree nuts only peanuts. Easy enough. :)

Just a note, though, about almond milk... the Almond Breeze brand (which is the only one I can find) does have soy lechtin in it, so it is not completely soy free. :( I believe Rice Milk is soy free, but I feel like we benefit more from a nut milk instead of more grains in our diet... just my opinion. (Here is more info on my almond milk thoughts.)

Why is the control scratch also so puffy?

(This question came up last year when I posted his skin test results, but it wasn't answered to my satisfaction. Thankfully there was a commenter that was able to answer it recently! )

Hi Becky,

Just happened to see your blog in the net. I'm actually a researcher. If I am not mistaken, the control on the right side of your baby's body, is a positive control whereby regardless if the child has allergy or not, it will swell up. On the other hand, the left control is a negative control, where no swelling is expected. Therefore, if the right control swelled up and not the left, it shows that we can rule out the possibility that there's an error in the scratch test. Which explained by the nurse that the test is 'good'

Hope this is helpful


There have also been several people asking how Witt is doing and the current status of his allergies.

I don't really have much to say because I don't know exactly. We won't know anything until his testing in December. For now we just avoid his allergens completely and go about a normal life as much as possible and continue to pray. I "educate" almost everyone I come in contact with about his allergies. I figure it's better to bring it up in the beginning than have a problem later... although, I do get tired of talking about it sometimes and wish I didn't have to.

Please continue to keep Witt and the other allergy families in your prayers. Once I have a date for his testing, I'll set up my being persistent ticker. I hope that every time you see the ticker, you'll be prompted to say a little prayer for him.

Thank you all so much for your questions! If there are more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I'll be happy to do another post with the answers (or answer you privately if you prefer).

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Scottish Twins said...

Great info.

Stupid food allergies :(

Deanna said...

Great summary post! Because we keep K so isolated from his allergens, I've lately found myself thinking that when we go in for his 2 year scratches that he will have outgrown everything. And then I have to remind myself that we don't see any reactions now because we're so careful about what he comes in contact with. It's rather hard to remember a time when I didn't have to read labels with a microscope.

Will Witt only get the scratch test or will he also have the blood work (RAST)?

Rhonda Lewis said...

Thanks for this info Becky. I have to say too I love the photo! I have one of myself from MANY years ago that looks similar to this one.

Sally said...

Ever since reading your story I am way more aware of allergies- and recently was shocked to discover my boys' new preschool serves milk with the snack! I'd hope they would completely remove that if any kids had allergies- but they are a peanut free school :) I am more sensitive to others now around church and such, so your story has helped me be more aware.