Friday, December 2, 2011

Flu Shot Challenge

Because of Sweet Potato's allergy to egg whites, his flu shot had to be administered at the allergist's office in the form of a "flu shot challenge".   They did a scratch test for the vaccine, waited for any reaction (to which there was a small skin reaction), broke up the dose into two parts, gave dose #1, waited and watched for any reaction (to which there was none), gave the rest of the dose and waited and watched.  The two hour appointment was a success.  And Sweet Potato was a trooper.  I brought a few toys, his pillow pet and a blanket for the five different waits in the exam room.  He was really more interested in playing with the exam table and drawers in the room, but this new toy (purchased locally on sale and with a coupon for $2.40!) kept his interest for the majority of the time. 

I really like his allergist and I'm learning more about his food allergies.  When he was first diagnosed, I buried my head in the sand (which lasted for about one day), but now I am all about education.  There's a good chance he will outgrow his allergy to eggs but outgrowing his allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is less likely.  At my request, his allergist gave me a copy of his medical report from his first visit (I was too overwhelmed that day to even think of asking for documentation).  I learned that the likelihood of a reaction to exposure to eggs is "high" (a 12.80 kU/L rating) and the likelihood to a reaction to peanuts rated a "very high" (a 28.70 kU/L rating).  I also learned that while reactions are likely, the rating itself does not determine the type of reaction.  In other words, he could have a mild reaction or a major one regardless of how high the kU/L rating.  (And I apologize if I am not using these terms/abbreviations correctly.  I'm still learning.)  Also, a reaction to one exposure can be completely different to a reaction for a second exposure.  And the key bit of thing for me to know is - AVOIDANCE is the most important thing.

After the twins were asleep last night, I spent more time online and found some medical bracelets and children's books on allergies.  I think those things are in our near future.  Educating Sweet Potato and everyone he comes in contact with on avoidance and treatment (Benadryl, administering his EpiPen, calling 911) has to be a high priority for me.  I do not expect this to be an easy task.  In fact, my mom, who has been aware of his allergies since the first reaction to scrambled eggs happened at age 12 months, ate a chocolate bar with ALMONDS at my house yesterday.  From her hands to his skin can cause a reaction.  Eating a crumb of her candy bar that falls on the floor can be fatal.

When I think of the future and Sweet Potato going to school, birthday parties, and playdates, I really worry.  Then I remember by moto since I became pregnant with the twins: one day at a time.


  1. I have three boys, and my middle has allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and a relatively newly discovered to fish. His reaction to eggs and fish has ever only been vomiting. His egg allergy is to raw-ish eggs, he can eat baked egg (e.g. muffins, corn bread, even French toast if well done). He will indeed outgrow the egg allergy, I hear. Btw, he has never ever had a reaction to the flu shot (he's 4 now) so he is now able to have it at the regular doctor's office (not the allergist).

    The only thing I really worry about is the allergy to peanuts and tree nuts (not even all tree nuts, some are OK like almonds, walnuts, and pecans). The daycare he goes to is nut-free, but once he starts school or going to sleepovers we are quite worried. The good news is that he knows what he is allergic to, so he'll recite it for people. We had one exposure to peanuts, very small amount in some corn puffs, he broke in hives but that was it. It was fairly terrifying, but luckily OK. I hear with allergies you get one free pass, the next exposure may be more dangerous.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I understand, that it's scary, but it won't always be this acutely scary. Best of luck!

    PS Your little guys are beautiful!

  2. Do you read the blog: "And then there were 2!"? She is a single mom by choice as well and her son has several food allergies. I'm sure you'd find lots of support/tips on her blog. I'm not sure what the entire URL is but it's on my blogroll or you could Google it. Best wishes on this bumpy road--you are both doing great!


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