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Infant Allergy Testing

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My DD's pediatrician says there is a blood test to determine which foods DD is reacting to, but suggests we may not want do it right now because she is only 4 mos old and taking the blood would be very traumatic. I completely understand that and don't want to have DD go through that, but we are having so much trouble getting to baseline that I am just so tempted to have the test done. I wonder if the reactions to the food intolerances are worse than the blood test. What would you do? At what age do you think it is best to have the blood test done?
post #2 of 11
Our allergist has suggested having the blood draw done at our Children's Hospital because they are experienced in drawing blood on very young children.
I think it is important to find out what is causing your LO to react. The blood draw is a very short amount of pain while allergic reactions can leave lasting damage.

You may also want to check out http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

Good Luck!
post #3 of 11
I agree that you should have the draw at a Children's Hospital, if you choose to do it.

That said, there isn't an allergy test that is 100% accurate. In fact, the younger a patient is, the less likely it is to give accurate results (I've read anywhere from 2 yrs to 5yrs, it starts yielding clearer results). In our case the skin prick test gave some results (only tested the big 8, plus corn), but the blood test (for many more substances) came back all negative including the ones that were positive on the spt. My dd was 15 mths at the time.

Have you been doing an elimination diet?
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache View Post
Have you been doing an elimination diet?
I have been on a TED for 4 weeks now (and I eliminated dairy at least 6 weeks before that, along with several other foods). Every time I think we are at baseline she has another reaction. I was getting very discouraged over the weekend and even cheated, but am back on it today. I know I just need to keep at it as long as it takes. I will put the test off for a while longer and see if I can figure it out through the diet. DD's pediatrician said the test was pretty reliable, but if it isn't I don't want to put DD through that.
post #5 of 11
I disagree that the blood draw is "very traumatic." Not pleasant, of course, but to call it a trauma and a significant one, at that, is greatly over-stating a well-done blood draw. We had a blood draw for a RAST at 10 months. DS sat on DH's lap, I distracted him while DH held him tightly. He barely noticed. I was prepared to nurse immediately after, but he didn't even need it. I would have gladly had the draw at 4 mos if someone had been willing to do it and if it meant that I was able to start on a successful elimination journey that much sooner. I think the itching cycle that we had gotten into by 10 mos was/is a lot more damaging and disruptive than a quick blood-draw.
post #6 of 11
And keep in mind that if these are intolerances and not allergies, they will not show up at all on the blood test, if it's a RAST.
post #7 of 11
We took dd for the blood draw (RAST) at 11 months, and it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. I DO think it was worse than if she'd been younger because she's pretty strong and was furious that we had to hold her still. That was the worst part! She didn't even seem to notice the needle stick, she just cried while we had to restrain her and stopped crying (mad crying, not the heartbroken "why are you doing this to me?" cry I'd anticipated) as soon as we were able to free her arms. I don't want to do it again anytime soon, but it went better than I thought it would. She just turned 1 and we go to an allergist for skin testing next week. I wish she were either a bit younger (less mobile and more easily distracted) or a bit older (more able to understand the idea of holding still, etc) but it is what it is. I don't know for sure about the accuracy of the RAST results, but they certainly made sense (well, all of the positives except peanuts, which was a surprise) and she's been noticeably better since we cut the positives out of both of our diets.
post #8 of 11
We did the blood test at a year for dd. We went to a specialist--a Pediatric Phlebotomist at Children's Hospital. It was not "very traumatic", but it was hard--it took a very long time and lots of extra hydration for him to get good access to a vein to do the draw (and that was at a year, not 4 months). He ended up having to the draw from her foot, rather than her arm. The blood draw at age 2 was a piece of cake...of course, that may have been b/c she was eating a Rice Krispie treat at the time.

I, too, have heard that the testing is very unreliable at very young ages. In fact, it's not that reliable even when they're older! I think positives are around 50/50 and negatives are around 90% accurate. So it may not even give you the answers you need. To give one example: dd has now had two draws, one at age 1, one at age 2. Both times she tested negative to fish. When we trialed it, however, she was clearly allergic. We did it two times (after the second negative, we tried again, because we thought the first reaction might have been to something else) and both times she got a big, itchy rash that she scratched until it bled.

These are just our experiences. Best of luck with your decision!
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post
And keep in mind that if these are intolerances and not allergies, they will not show up at all on the blood test, if it's a RAST.
I want to hammer this point.

We had the RAST, (at approx. 14 mos.) and as PP'ers have stated, my worries were out of proportion to the actual blood draw. It took less than two minutes and he was fine for the most part. NOT traumatic. But keep your hopes realistic. We got a positive for eggs...that's it. He is intolerant to milk, soy , nuts, seeds, millet, buckwheat, legumes, beef, apples, wheat, corn, carrots, onions, pork (?) and plenty of unproven others. None of those were positive. Just please be ready for it not to help a lot.
post #10 of 11
Our DD is 4 months, and just got blood drawn at Oakland's Children's Hospital, and she practically slept through the whole thing. She fussed when they stuck her, I started feeding her, and she fell back asleep. The trepidation (for me, of course) was way worse.

post #11 of 11
The ppost just reminded me. I actually nursed during the draw.
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