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passed skin test for dairy but...

512 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  goomjiji
I've "confirmed" today that my DD definitely has a dairy allergy. After her skin test on June 1, I fed her some cheese sauce. She immediately got hives all over her face. A few days later I tried yogurt again. Same thing. This time I took pictures since the doctor didn't seem to believe me when I told him she reacted to dairy. Today I dabbed milk on her face and she developed hives everywhere the milk touched, plus started pulling at her clothes. I popped her in the bath and found the hives had spread to her neck and stomach.

Now my questions - Why would she have passed the skin test when she is clearly reacting to dairy? Is it possible to have a skin allergy to dairy but still be able to eat it? She loves cheese and I feel bad not allowing her to have any. She has lots of sleep problems (uncomfortable, gassy at night) which I think can be attributed to allergies. I'm going to keep dairy away from her and try not to eat any myself (which will be so hard!). Has anyone else heard of skin reactions to something that is not ingested?

Sorry to be all over the place here. I'm just frustrated, and trying to get this posted before DD gets annoyed at me for sitting at the computer!
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My DD passed the skin prick test for dairy, but has a definite allergy. She skin contact reacts to corn, but all of her allergies come out through her skin through hives and eczema as her primary symptoms. If she is reacting by touch I would not give her dairy to ingest either.
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Thanks for your reply. I just wish it wasn't dairy, of all things!

Any thoughts on whether kids (she's only 14 months) are likely to grow out of dairy allergies? The doctor said she'll probably be able to eat egg once she's 5.
Reactions trump results. Some people's skin and/or blood tests are not accurate. You've amply demonstrated her allergy. Please know that any reasonable allergist would believe you--would have believed you without all the at-home food challenges--and the next step is NOT to continue to try to prove it to him by at-home dairy exposures but by finding an allergist who is more rational.

Reactions also tend to get more serious rather than less. I would be deeply concerned that for a kid who is allergic to a food in the way you describe was at risk for an anaphylactic (life-threatening) reaction. If you do not have an epi-pen jr prescription, you need one. If your allergist won't prescribe, get one from your pediatrician.

What has helped me most with my allergic kids is the forums at There is a welath of information and support there that I haven't found anywhere else online or IRL. the main forum is free with an associate membership; you pay $25 for a family membership (worth every penny) that gets you access to everything, including forums on BFing and elim diets, on issues with allergies and infants through preschoolers (including great stuff on negotiating with daycares), on issues with school age kids and allergies, on kids who have few safe foods, for dads on food-allergic kids, and so on. You also get access to the recipe database with a family membership, which would be worth the whole price alone even without the forums.

(My kids' favorite cake (Wacky Cake) comes from there: no eggs, no milk, can be made gluten-free, and it's impossible to mess up and takes only about ten minutes of hands-on time. We do the orange variation and at parties even all the non-food-allergic people asks for seconds.)

Luck--it's hard but it gets easier.
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We do have an epi-pen. I won't be trying any more "at-home" tests. The test I did yesterday was just to absolutely confirm that it was the dairy that was causing the reaction, not some combination of things, as all other reactions occurred while she was eating dairy with fruit or vegetables.

Is there any reason to get a referral to another allergist at this point? I don't think I need to re-confirm the ones I know she has.

Thanks for your reply!
We have been lucky to find great allergists both of the places we have lived. We first needed initial testing, then as time has gone on and my sons' allergies have changed (some gotten better, new ones added), we've needed ongoing care. That may not be true of everyone.

A good allergist can do many things for followup care. We needed meds and a consult for my second son's anaphylaxis episode at 9 months old (which our allergist helped us realize was to ibuprofen, something he'd never had trouble with before). Now our new allergist is working to help us prevent them both from developing asthma (though we're losing that battle with my younger son). Our ped is great but didn't recognize my younger son's symptoms as veering into asthma, instead seeing only ongoing colds. My older son's antihistamines have needed adjusting; my younger son's eczema care has needed monitoring. Plus we've needed additional testing when new reactions showed up. We get yearly blood tests so we can monitor whether Leo's food allergies are improving or not. Also, having an allergist available to do documentation for daycare and schools has been very helpful.

Kids' allergies do change a great deal in the pre-school years; many get worse first then begin to improve and eventually outgrow; some outgrow early. Some add new allergies. It's not static with small children the way it is as adults; once I identified my allergic triggers in my thirties, I didn't feel I needed to keep checking them (though now I'm doing allergy shots to eventually get rid of my ongoing need for allergy meds).
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I don't know nearly as much about this as some other people, but I think I know of a child who has a definite dairy allergy but doesn't react on the typical skin prick test because his allergy is to a "different part" of the dairy protein that they don't test for on the skin prick. Something like that. That could be what's going on.

My allergist is completely optimistic that DS will outgrow his dairy and egg allergies by the time he's 5. I would like to have that same optimism, but I try to just live in the present and not get too invested in the idea that I can someday take him out for an ice cream cone.
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