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How do I understand allergy results?

(12 Posts)
mum2twoloudbabies Mon 18-Jul-11 15:35:02

So I'm new to all this and am completely overwhelmed by everything there is to take in (although MN is a big help grin). DS has just had a blood test for allergies. Obviously what he is allergic to is pretty straight forward: milk, egg, wheat, peanut and soya avoid it all (easier said than done) however the dietician then said he had an overall ige of 76. I haven't had all this in writing yet but what on earth does 76 mean?

freefrommum Mon 18-Jul-11 18:36:10

Interpreting the results is not straightforward I'm afraid! It depends on the test and what the normal range for that particular lab's test is plus it also depends on age (normal for 4 yr old is not the same as normal for 18 yr old ifyswim). My 4 yr old DS's overall IgE score is 3000 which I know is extremely high but that's common in atopic children with eczema, asthma and food allergies like him. You'll need to ask the consultant what the normal range is and ask them to explain what exactly the result means for your child. To be honest, it's my understanding that blood tests such as the RAST are only done to provide an indication of possible allergens and overall sensitivity but are not used as the deciding factor re: whether or not a person does or doesn't have an allergy. Skin prick tests are usually more reliable but the 'gold standard' is food challenge under supervision in hospital.

nellymoo Mon 18-Jul-11 21:41:46

This is a minefield, and we as a family have come to the very firm conclusion that IGE blood tests are, in fact, utterly meaningless! As I understand it, overall IGE is a more "useful" than individual RAST tests. My DD has multiple, severe allergies, yet according to IGE, she is not allergic to a number of things she has had anaphylactic reactions to (milk/egg/ name a few).

And as for the "gold standard" of food challenge, we have had some seriously weird results for this also. Should probably start my own thread, but am too depressed sad

As freefrom says, you should ask your consultant what the normal ranges are, in relation to your child.

mum2twoloudbabies Mon 18-Jul-11 22:10:35

You're not kidding nellymoo minefield is exactly how I would describe it. I think I'm going to forget it until I see the consultant in about 6 months time. Ds is only 8mos old so I was told to expect some less than accurate results anyway.

It's interesting freefrom that they are only an indication of possible allergens because he has had soya yoghurts and didn't seem to react to them (unlike when he had wheat which was just scary!)

So I am still at sea, it seems to me that life with an allergic child is a constant rollercoaster in the mist. And if one more person says "but it's ok because he'll grow out of them won't he" I think I might actually resort to violence angry. Nobody seems to take it seriously (except my Mum, yeah for mums)

nellymoo Mon 18-Jul-11 22:34:23

Do take a little peek at the "wet fish" thread. Better than an understanding mum for making you feel better!

nellymoo Mon 18-Jul-11 22:48:07

You get false positives and false negatives from RAST testing.

In our case, we have had more negative results, in the sense that IGE has shown her NOT to be allergic to a number of things, or lowering levels (she is 4 1/2, first bloods taken at 10 weeks old...6 monthly since then) in comparison to previous tests. These are the primary indicators that prompt them to "challenge".
They do not do skin prick testing at my hospital hmm

She has failed every food challenge.

Except, recently for milk. She was, as far as we knew, anaphylactic to CMP until fairly recently. Atopic, and would react on skin contact, yet the last set of blood suggested that she had "outgrown" this one. We were skeptical, yet a day in hospital being challenged to milk, and she had apparently outgrown it!! You cannot begin to understand our excitement! Yet less than one week later she had a full blown anaphylactic reaction to half a teaspoon of icecream.
We remain, confused.
And no one can give us any answers. Our Cons. Paed. is not returning my phone calls. This should probably be in my own thread, sorry OP. Hopefully someone will be along to say that they understand this, and can give me some answers?!

mum2twoloudbabies Tue 19-Jul-11 08:41:33

nellymoo that must be so frustrating and confusing, see this is why I wish people would stop saying he'll grow out of it. Fingers crossed he will but both of you have 4yo who haven't and the fact is we have to deal with it now so it is irrelevant whether or not he is going to grow out of it.

Good luck nellymoo with your cons. paed.

freefrommum Tue 19-Jul-11 08:52:50

Don't get me started on the 'oh but he'll grow out of that surely?' - grrrr!!!! We all have to endure that one on a regular basis and it's incredibly frustrating. Firstly, when they have multiple anaphylactic allergies it is far less likely that they will outgrow all of them plus so what if they do eventually outgrow them, how does that help us cope with it right now?!!! And the process you have to put them through to finally discover that they have indeed outgrown it is horribly long, complicated and (esp. in the case of food challenges) quite stressful and distressing. There, rant over...for now!

Btw I like the 'rollercoaster in the mist' description mum2twoloudbabies!

mum2twoloudbabies Wed 20-Jul-11 08:38:19

Have had a look at the wet fish thread, thanks for pointing me there. It is shocking how badly people are treated but did make me feel somewhat better in a way. It's also nice to know what we are potentially going to be faced with.

mum2twoloudbabies Wed 20-Jul-11 08:40:28

Rant away ffm it's all I feel like doing at the moment.

youarekidding Wed 20-Jul-11 21:12:39

My DS was IgE 14 and then IgE 21. Both within normal range which is 0-81 apparently.

OK that's great, agree though about it being meaningless when he still has to carry epi-pen for unknown allergies resulting in a shock reaction once.

Agree with asking consultant. Mine is more than happy to return a call if I leave a message with her secretary. She really is a lovely Pead Cons. grin

youarekidding Wed 20-Jul-11 21:14:49

should say normal range for his age. He's 6yo

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