Thursday, February 09, 2012

Holding Pattern

A month ago an elementary student in area died from a severe peanut allergy. The horror of the story has been compounded by the fact it was from a fellow student sharing a peanut based snack on the playground. When the news first hit I immediately thought of one of Max and Rebecca's classmates who has such a life threatening allergy. She is a very sweet kid with a wonderful mom that makes a point to come to every party and field trip to ensure her daughter gets only things that are safe her her to eat. It wasn't her that died, the child was much younger and in a completely different school.

Meanwhile it looks like Rebecca has developed a sensitivity to peanuts. A couple years ago we went to Five Guys Burger and Fries and Rebecca started coughing. It was a dry, almost asthmatic sort of hacking cough. She wasn't sick and she wasn't choking, but something was clearly up. Then I realized the place was awash in peanuts. Open boxes of unshelled peanuts were all over the place for patrons to snack on while waiting for their food. Rebecca has never cared for peanuts and that's not an unusual aspect of a food allergy. Young children often instinctively avoid foods that make them sick. I for one never wanted to eat shellfish as a kid, almost blasphemy for someone of New England stock.When I finally did try some crab meat salad at my cousins wedding I promptly had an extreme allergic reaction. Luckily my family is loaded with asthmatics and such and they were able to stave off the attack. So yes, food allergies are not unheard of in my family.

Anyhoodle back to the whole peanut allergy thing in school. For the past two school years I have carefully noted on Rebecca's information card that she has a minor peanut allergy. Since she does not like peanuts and is uninterested in other kids' food I didn't worry about her. At some point I would get her tested, but I wanted her to be a bit older and better able to deal with the prospect of a prick test. This was all fine and dandy until three weeks ago. Our school board decided that my little note was no longer enough. More details and an action plan were needed.

Sigh, so it was off to the allergist today.

Rebecca had a simple prick test on her forearms. Just three little jabs, the peanut on her right and the controls on her left. Fifteen minutes later the Dr. check her arms. The saline (negative control) was clear and the histamine (positive control) produced a large, red, and itchy welt. Just what was to be expected. The peanut however, well was not quite so clear. There was definitely something going on, but at most a three on a scale of one to ten.

Which was about what I expected.

However, it wasn't an equivocal answer, more of a kinda sorta. The upshot of it all is that now Rebecca got the added treat of a blood draw to see what is going on. It'll be another week until we know the results and even that won't guarantee us an answer. In the mean time her Dr. said it was best if she carried on avoiding peanuts.

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