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The short version is a question: are food allergies hereditary?
As a little kid I just thought I didn’t like foods like grapes, raisins, peanut butter and celery. In my mid teens I had an episode eating dried fruit and drinking lemonade where my throat felt raw, I lost my voice, my lips were swollen, my gums itched, my ears itched and my breathing was labored.
Shortly after that episode I had a skin test that showed I reacted to many fruits, nuts and seeds and I have carried and Epipen ever since. No follow ups, no reaction like the one in my teens or any trouble. I can also identify if a food bothers me by about the second bite and I do not eat foods that were triggers in the past.
When my DD turned 6 months old I asked her pedi for an Epipen for her because I was worried about her starting food. He prescribed one and referred her to a pediatric allergist.
At the appointment the allergist asked what I brought for her to be tested against. Well, she wasn’t on food yet and I was afraid to give her fruits. He told me that it was highly unlikely that a child would react to processed/ cooked fruits and she should be fine. Even though I was disappointed by learning nothing concrete, I had the Epipen and his comments about processed foods and we were on our way.
She is over 4 now and I have not introduced anything that is a trigger for me. I waited until she was 3 to give her fresh fruit so she could describe the feeling in her mouth in case she had a reaction.
She has an appointment with the same allergist this Friday. I called this morning to see if we were to bring anything since I had been caught off guard years ago. Sure enough, we are to bring what she has reacted to. Well, I have not given her anything for fear that her reaction may be worse than mine was. The lady on the phone said that they don’t test until there is a reaction… I can not in good conscience feed my kid something that makes my throat swell.
So, my question is do I lie? Do I say that she had traces of something and was wheezing? Please, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the seriousness of allergies and I also realize that I may be overreacting and paranoid. How do I send her to JK without knowing for certain that if the kid next to her is eating raisins she isn’t going to get one?
Wow, this is long and convoluted. I would appreciate any input, advice or suggestions.
I do think you are being a little paranoid but I totally understand where you are coming from. I would be, too. You know first hand what an allergic reaction feels like and of course you do not ever want your child to go though the same thing.
I understand the allergist's point of view of not testing unless there is a reaction. I would not really want to subject my child to the skin prick test unless necessary, you know?
Is there any way that your pediatrician can send your DD for a food panel/bloodwork for the foods that you are allergic to - so that would give you a rough idea of whether or not she does have food allergies?
Oh and to answer your question as to whether food allergies are hereditary, I think they can be. But not necessarily the same foods. DH and I do not have food allergies, but my brother is. He was allergic to fruits and shellfish - he has outgrown these food allergies. One of my boys has multiple food allergies - wheat, rye, barley, oat, egg, dairy, nuts and treenuts. My two other boys do not have food allergies. I know of other families where 2 or 3 of the children have food allergies but do not share the same ones. There just seems to be no rhyme of reason.
I understand their point of view, as well, to a point. I just think that it is necessary to put her through the testing. Have her tested in a controlled environment rather than introduce her to my triggers. I am really terrified of the consequences (the overreacting and paranoid part of me).
I called the other allergy clinic and they do not understand why this Dr. wouldn't test. They said that they test on newborns. Maybe they do a panel/bloodwork like you mentioned.
I will keep the Friday appointment in case it's just a mis-communication thing. Depending on how it goes I will request to be referred to the clinic.
I appreciate your input and can use the luck, too!
From the research I have done the specific allergies are not inherited but a family history of any allergy (environmental or food) increases the odds of a child also having allergies. So basically your daughter could have completely different food allergies than you do or she could have environmental allergies or maybe none at all. Neither DH or I have food allergies nor did any of our siblings/parents etc. DH has environmental allergies and then we found out that our oldest DS is very allergic to milk, eggs, and nuts which was a big surprise for us.
If I were you and had foods that I was concerned about (actually I did this with DS before we had him formally tested) would be to smear some of the food that you are concerned about on a patch of skin and see if it reacts at all. If it does then don't feed it to her but if there is no reaction then I'd try giving her small amounts. If she does have a mild reaction you can always give her a small dose of benadryl rather than having to go right for the epi pen. While we carry an epi pen for my older DS we have never had to use it because the benadryl has worked fast enough for any allergic reaction that he has had and I feel a lot better giving him a dose of that then stabbing him with the epi pen (which obviously I would do if there were an emergency) but the benadryl is a nicer way to deal with minor allergic reactions.
Another thing with food allergies is that they can build up over time so that even though she may not have an allergic reaction to something right away you may notice that over time she begins to have a reaction to something she is allergic to.
Ruth - Wife to Scott - Mommy to 5 amazing kids. #6 due June 2015
Ruth gave the same advice I would have.. I don't have allergies, but due to Ds1 having so many, I withheld alot of his trigger foods from ds2. I think you should push the doctor to honor your concerns, and while you may be a little paranoid, it is understandable, and not excessive, imo. One thing the allergist may be looking at, is if she has never had a reaction to a food, her body probably will not show an allergy in the tests; because the tests are looking for antibodies produced during a reaction. I hope your next appointment goes well!