I am often asked about what food allergies Mitch has, how we have determined what foods he is allergic to, the severity of his food allergies, and how we manage his multiple food allergies.
Here’s a quick update on our journey learning about our son’s reactions, testing and diagnosis of his food allergies, and how our family is managing our son’s multiple food allergies in day-to-day life.
Food Allergy Testing
Mitch was first diagnosed with food allergies at 7 months of age, after suffering for 3 months with severe dermatitis.
When various treatments recommended by three dermatologists didn’t resolve Mitch’s dermatitis and all three dermatologists were adamant that food allergies do not cause dermatitis, we listened to our gut feeling and took it upon ourselves as parents to guinea pig our son by switching his formula to challenge a possible food allergy. When his skin cleared after two days on the new formula, we knew we were finally on the right path to helping our son.
We discussed our home challenge with our son’s pediatrician and he agreed there was a high chance food allergies were causing his dermatitis. Our pediatrician ordered Mitch’s first round of food allergy tests, an IgE RAST test to the top 8 allergens.
Food Allergy Test Results
In June of 2011, Mitch was diagnosed with a food allergy to milk, soy, wheat, egg white, sesame seed and peanut. After removing these foods from his diet, Mitch’s dermatitis cleared 75%, but there was still something affecting his dermatitis.
Mitch was now at the age to begin transitioning to solid foods. We would notice his dermatitis would flare after eating certain foods, so we asked for another IgE RAST test for foods we believed he was allergic to.
In November of 2011, almond, barley, oat, pea, sunflower seed, beef, coconut, green bean , corn, squash, rice and melons were added to his list of food allergies after a second IgE RAST test.
In May of 2012, Mitch’s latest IgE RAST test revealed food allergies to pork, strawberry, lemon and garlic.
Classification of Positive Food Allergies
All of Mitch’s food allergy tests have returned in units of micrograms per milliliter (μg/mL) and a class rating scale. His highest class rating of any allergen is Class 4, including peanut and egg white.
This is the Excel spreadsheet I use to track Mitch’s food allergies by date, classification, and micrograms per milliliter. You will also see a list of safe food in which Mitch had a negative result via an Ige RAST test.
I carry this Excel spread sheet with me everywhere on my smart phone. Due to his multitude of food allergies, I want to be able to easily transfer his known allergens to any doctor or hospital as needed to protect him during treatment.
Managing Food Allergies in Day to Day Life
We manage Mitch’s food allergies with an exclusion diet. Mitch has eaten all of his allergens multiple times, with the exception of peanut, and thankfully his only reactions have been dermatitis flares. Even though his reactions are mild, we try to avoid any reaction as much as possible.
Many of you will think we’re crazy, but all Mitch’s allergens are still abundant in our house, including peanuts and peanut butter which his older brothers eat every day. We do use clean utensils to prepare, serve and feed Mitch to avoid cross contamination, but we do not go to the extreme of washing our hands after we have consumed known allergens Mitch has. We believe that exposure helps build immunity, and we don’t want to weaken his immunity and possibly heighten his reactions by eliminating his allergens from his environment.
Nobody cooks for our son except for us. We prepare food to take with us wherever we go, and even businesses with the strictest no-food policies welcome us with open arms once we explain our situation, show them the list of our son’s food allergies and offer them a copy of a letter from our allergist.
In addition to avoiding the foods Mitch is allergic to, we also carry two Epi Pens as well as a letter from our allergist explaining that our son has a life threatening condition.
Food allergies are manageable and you and your family can still get out and enjoy life even when managing one or more children with multiple food allergies.
Always remember, food allergies will never control us, when we are in control of our food allergies.
How do you manage you and/or your child’s food allergies in your home?