interpreting rast results - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-08-2008, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
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hi everyone. so i finally got my hands on the rast results for my son and it turns out that i was totally right in my demands for talking to the allergist directly. i just had a list rattled off to me by the receptionist and she didn't bother to tell me the severity of his dust mite allergy and the relative non-severity of most of the food.

okay, so according to this test, the foods/airborne irritants are given a # from 0-5 no reaction to severe respectively. 0 (0-500) is considered non detectable, 1 (500-750) equivocal 2 (751-1600) positive with increasing sensitivity to antigen as the numbers increase. most of the foods that weren't nuts fell around 500. corn was 368, soy 498, wheat 648. with nuts they were markedly higher, almond in the 1000s, cashew, peanut and pinenut were 3-4000s. then we get to dustmites and house dust and it jumps to 21,000! so clearly the mites are the cause to his perpetually runny nose! my gp didnt seem to think i needed to avoid any of the foods myself, just not give him any nuts directly. i am not so sure.

certainly those #s are small compared to the dustmites, but what exactly do they mean? does the fact that he is having a slight reaction to the food mean there is allergy/sensitivity? or would all foods, regardless of allergy to it show at least some reaction just simply bc it is in his system and the higher #s (over 700 are considered positive) are the ones to be concerned about? this is exactly the reason i wanted to talk to the stinkin allergist. what idiots. also, he never has had any reactions to food that i can tell (other than the initial reaction to peanut butter that sent me on this whirlwind in the first place--he got hives on his chin and threw up). his skin is smooth and clear, no eczema, no mood reactions after having certain foods, etc.

and on a positive note, i put my son to sleep on the floor downstairs bc i have some major cleaning to do up here in the dust factory. in the bedroom is where he would get stuffy every night when he was sleeping. so he is on the floor and i bought a little hepa filter that is running near his head and he hasnt woken up and he doesnt sound stuffy! i am so psyched.

anyway, does anyone have any idea how to interpret this? i really appreciate you guys, thank you so much. ~revo
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#2 of 4 Old 08-09-2008, 09:44 PM
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Getting the rast results is certainly a roller coaster ride, that's for sure. You have the answers you were looking for (definitely allergies), but what do they mean? right?

Anyway, this is what i've learned abotu RAST results. This is from our pediatric allergist, and the Sicherer book that we read (last July when our kiddo's RAST came back).

Basically, the numbers don't mean anything in terms of HOW allergic he is. The numbers you're talking about are different from the range they use at our allergist, (ours go from 0-100, and have 6 levels), so I can't compare our numbers to yours, but basically what i've learned is that the numbers signify how LIKELY it is that your kid will have *a reaction*. Not WHAT reaction he'll have. Not HOW SEVERE the reaction will be. Just that it's either likely or unlikely that ANY reaction will occur.

And the threshhold for that is different based on the food. Like our kid's peanut was a 15, i think, and that was solidly in the "yes" category. If it goes until a 5, i think, then we can think about challenging him with peanut. And some people have an 80 on peanut. But even with his 15, my kiddo could have a full on anaphylactic reaction to even a small amount of peanut. Hasn't happened yet (thankfully!) but he hasn't had much, if any exposure.

So, basically, what you're saying with your kid's numbers is that there is a higher chance that he's allergic to nuts than to corn. And it's pretty darn likely taht he's allergic to dust mites, that's for sure!

The other thing you have to be aware of, is that if he was tested prior to any elimination/reduction of possible allergies (meaning if he was reactive), then his numbers could be higher because of that. Like those dust numbers. If you get him retested in 6 months, after you've reduced his dust exposure (with the hepa filter, mattress encasements, pulling up carpeting, whatever you're going to do...) then his dust numbers will possibly be WAAAY lower than they currently are.

In our case, kiddo's milk number at 7 months old was 114, and it technically only goes up to 100 (they have to do a special test to see how much over 100 it is). After a total elimination diet (bf'ing), and 6 months later, his milk number was normal-high, like 70s. All of his other numbers went down somewhat, as well. except the peanut went up a little, but you can't have everything, right?

Your allergist should really explain all this to you. i would ask for an appointment, maybe, to review the results? Our allergist said definitely to eliminate his allergens from our diet while bf'ing, but i know not all allergist think that way.

Check out Sicherer's book. It was awesome for us at the beginning:
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#3 of 4 Old 08-12-2008, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
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i had another really disheartening phone call with the allergist where they once again refused to explain the rast test to me or interpret any results. i am just plain flabbergasted! have you ever had a doc who deliberately keeps you uniformed, even if it means more phonecalls to him as a result? i am going to get a new allergist.

i am so frustrated. based on these results i just dont know what i have to avoid. so do you consider any food, no matter how low the number (and therefore unlikely there will be a reaction, right?) is to be avoided?

as if entering into the realm of allergy-free living isnt tough enough, incompetent docs and insecurities about how to take care of my little one just makes it worse.
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#4 of 4 Old 08-13-2008, 02:57 AM
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Our RAST result was given the same as the PP...from zero up to 100 with six levels. His number was a .51, which was considered "low" by the allergist. The child's reaction to very minimal exposure to said allergen? Well, that was five hours of crazy violent vomiting that tore a hole in his esophagus (you know that when they begin to vomit dark red blood) that sent us to the emergency room. I am sure I am sounding terse...I just get so mad at MD's who minimize our situations and fail us as far as follow up. (I don't think you should have to pay for the darned test if your MD isn't going to be a grown up and talk with you about the results.) I am really sorry you're stuck dealing with a lug head.:

P.S. - maybe think about having you air ducts cleaned professionally? Iknow that helped our house.

Momma to one small person I call Smoodgie :joy.gif
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