I’ve been wanting to post something on this topic for awhile and was actually hoping to put a new page on my blog, along the lines of “Allergies/Eczema Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).” I still haven’t gotten around to it, but thought this post needed to be done sooner than later. I can still remember sitting in the doctor’s office, trying so hard to get allergy testing done for Rylee, and being told he didn’t have allergies or eczema. I talked about his skin, which was incredibly dry at the time but not covered in a rash or cracked, and his sneezing, as well as my gut feeling that he was allergic to something. I was kindly told by the doctor that he sneezes when he looks at the sun, but that doesn’t mean he is allergic to it. Well, I persisted, and then I left, but was back shortly after for another appointment about Ry’s skin, explaining that I applied three coats of vaseline a day (as instructed) and he was still dry as a bone.
Finally, I got the prescription for the RAST testing (blood draw), which would test for about 11 allergens. We were leaving town soon after we received the referral, so we decided to wait and get him allergy tested once we got to our new location. Sure enough, milk and eggs showed up, but we hadn’t been giving him either of these foods anyway, so we were still missing something.
I didn’t know anything about elimination diets then, I hadn’t even heard of them. I know now Rylee would have greatly benefited from doing one because it would have gotten the offending foods out of his diet. When we did the patch test, which showed seven food intolerances, his skin began clearing within a few days of eliminating all of these foods. Although this was not the answer to all of his ailments, they still played a significant role.
It’s really hard when you have something going on with your child and you don’t know what to do. The gut feeling of parents is probably the best. Even if your doctor tells you your child does not have allergies, I would adamantly and kindly push for testing, if you think they may. Allergies are significantly rising and they affect us in so many ways. I often think there is a stereotype that surrounds allergies- people think you’ll swell up, have trouble breathing, get hives, sneeze, etc., which can and does happen, but allergies can cause so many other symptoms. They may contribute to behavioral problems, migraines, developmental delays, stunted growth, obesity, depression, fatigue, among numerous others. The problem is that we can’t always prove that our pain, whatever it may be, is being caused by allergies. Even if we are able to get tests done, the test may not always show the offending food or environmental substance as an allergen.
Intolerances may also be at the root of the problem, but they are a different type of reaction (IgG instead of IgE), so they don’t usually show up on standard allergy tests. This does not necessarily mean you are not allergic (or intolerant) to it; these tests, just like anything else, are not foolproof. However, they give us a place to start and getting some sort of baseline, when it’s really hard to reach one with your child, is extremely helpful. So push for testing when you want and need it! If your doctor’s unreceptive, try to find another doctor. Remember, this is your child you are concerned about and you know them the best! Just because your doctor tells you he or she does not have allergies, this doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It means your going to have to push a little bit harder for what you believe in.