Some background: my DD is nearly 2. We have 2 fat, hairy Siamese cats that she has draped herself all over with no issue since birth. She also loves dogs and has petted/been licked by about 100 since birth - until 2 weeks ago when we went to a new friend's house, she got licked by their huge dog and then suddenly had a crazy allergic reaction. Giant hives, runny eyes and nose, itching, sneezing, coughing, etc. No breathing issues, so we gave her her first Benadryl (and a bath to de-dog) and went on our way. We've since seen a few dogs in our neighborhood with no incidence, but then today went to a friend's house with a dog we've seen a bunch of times. The *moment* we walked in the door she got a few hives on her face, then suddenly broke out everywhere and got all the other symptoms above - without even having been licked. There were 2 other big dogs visiting so the house was pretty full, but still, not even a single doggy pet did she give!
Our history: my husband is allergic to cats (he takes daily meds) and I am allergic to shellfish, so there is definitely a little tendency in our family. My DD had a bit of eczema in infancy, and her skin will get red/occasionally hive if acidic foods sit on her face too long (tomato sauce, etc), but we've never felt like she's "reacted" to any foods.
Anyway, I am totally new to this world of child-allergies and unsure how to proceed. The nurse at our ped office said to bring her in for an allergy blood test this week, but I've read they are possibly not as accurate as a skin-prick test, and I've seen all sorts of numbers out there as to which age is really "accurate" for testing (ie some people say not before 15 months, some say not before age 3!).
Any advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!!
My youngest daughter has the big dog allergy. My sister's black lab had a fungal infection that caused her skin to flake off and so for a long time we had to premedicate DD with loratadine (gen. claritin) and started calling it "doggy medicine". The medicine was actually her big sister's who has bazillions of allergies but never used it. I got the OK for the dose from her NP (she was under 2yo) and gave it to her. Since that dog passed, sis's house seems fine for the amount of time we visit, and she has 2 big dogs (plus she vacuums more and has a HEPA filter vacuum now).
I didn't feel the need for testing her, since we didn't have a dog, until she started complaining of tummy aches. Dreading yet another set of allergies (I am allergic to everything, too) we got a basic skin prick test and her food allergies were all negative. Dog was confirmed and dust mites, and this year's grass is a minor trouble.
So, I wouldn't sweat the test one way or another. If you don't have a dog, I would give her Claritin or Zyrtec (to see if they work as well as Benadryl which can cause drowsiness and crankiness in kids) before doggy visits and finish with the bath as you did. Then keep an eye out for coughing in response to a potential allergen that might be the beginnings of asthma. That's what an allergist will want to hear. No big deal if you test anyway, given your family history, but until you see some other signs you could probably ride this out. What they are going to tell you once the test is positive for environmental allergies is pretty much what you read here. Food is another matter, so if you are afraid of introducing the heavy allergens--peanuts, shellfish etc--go ahead and test, but allergies can be developed later (my oldest developed one to wheat at 3yo). Basically, though, I wouldn't worry.
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