As a baby, I was sick a lot. So the doctors decided to do a comprehensive allergy test to see what I was allergic to. Along with a lot of environmental things, it turned out I was extremely allergic to peanuts. There are a lot of debates on why people develop allergies but my mom is certain of why I am allergic. During the third trimester of her pregnancy with me she ate tons of peanut butter – thanks mom.
I read blogs every now and then of parents talking about finding out that their kid has an extreme peanut allergy. They worry about their child’s quality of life and their ability to do normal things. The truth is that my childhood was great and barely anyone had peanut allergies when I was growing up. Now restaurants and food manufacturers are really aware of allergies. There are peanut free schools now – something that I am baffled by. Are their parents going to crusade for peanut free colleges when their kids are old enough? One of my only two reactions was in 4th grade when a kid brought in brownies – something that I think is probably not even allowed anymore. I asked him if there were peanuts in the brownies and he said no. Well it turns out that there was peanut BUTTER in them. Thanks a lot, Paul.
I was retested before I went to college because 20% of people outgrow their peanut allergy. I decided to be retested again this past month because the previous testing had been inconclusive. I hadn’t had a reaction since 4th grade – had I really just been extremely cautious?
First came the skin test. They prick you with 3 things but the main one you want to pay attention to is where they prick you with the allergen.
Yeah that big blotchy one with the ‘P’ next to it (that liquid stuff isn’t coming out of my arm – that’s the medicine). But apparently about 40% of skin tests are false positives. So next was a blood test. That came out as a “low positive” which didn’t really line up with the glaring blotch on my arm.
The next step in the past would have been a food challenge. Every time I hear that phrase I think of Double Dare’s physical challenges. Except in this one I’m not trying to fill a bucket attached to my head with Gak.
A food challenge is where you must battle all the instincts you were brought up with and EAT A PEANUT. You know, see if anything happens.
But now there is a new step in the process. There is a new blood test where they can test each specific protein of the peanut to see what you are exactly allergic to, if anything. Well the results came back this week and they were pretty conclusive that I am still very allergic. Conclusive enough that my allergist said I can’t do the food challenge because it would be too much of a risk. Taylor had to cancel the Peanut Party he was planning for me.