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Allergy testing for babies

(16 Posts)
Gill79 Fri 08-Aug-08 19:19:47

Just looking for some thoughts....

I have many allergies, some of them serious, to nuts, egg, seeds and fruits, as well as dustmite and animal hair allergy, hayfever, asthma, eczema etc. DP is allergic to some drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

I recently asked our GP about getting our 6mo son allergy tested (have just started to wean). I was told that there would be no point in testing at this stage before exposure to allergens.

Does this make sense? Is it just that the test would not indicate a response to previous exposure, or that the allergy does not exist until he has been exposed to the allergen? I would have thought that we could be born with allergies that may worsen with exposure.

This just confirms my view that there is very little understanding or support available re allergies - for example they didn't give me any ideas about how to introduce suspect foods safely, it's pretty much like go away and see what happens. When I had a really serious reaction to peanuts (throat closed up enough to lose my voice) the GP admitted she didn't really know what to do, then referred me to allergy specialist. Two years later was still on the waiting list having had no advice whatsoever or been prescribed epi-pen.

Sorry - rant over. What I want to know is - do you think I should get a second opinion re testing for my DS? And is it possible to get allergy testing done privately? I'm not really confident enough to challenge the GP.... (BTW have only introduced one potential allergen - gave him a bit of orange to chew on - he came up in a red rash all round his mouth sad)

AvenaLife Fri 08-Aug-08 22:08:54

I would go and see another GP. 2 years is too long to be on any sort of waiting list, to leave a child on one this long would be very bad. I don't know if there are private routes, they will need emergency medical knowledge so I wouldn't go to a clinic for this.

Gill79 Sat 09-Aug-08 17:56:05

Thanks Avena - although the two years was my experience, in a separate part of the country some time ago. I'd certainly be kicking up a fuss if DS was faced with that sort of wait after an incident!

Gill79 Mon 11-Aug-08 18:29:56


beautifulday Mon 11-Aug-08 21:11:24


they do not like to do allergy testing on young babies as its unreliable.

going private you might end up going to someone not that good - i know someone who recently took their child to a recommended professor who did allergy testing and after £500 was none the wiser and very disappointed. so i would wait and see what the nhs come up with. What i'd do is get a referral to a pead who can refer you onto an allergy clinic - there arent that many clinics in the UK for babies as far as i know and the waiting lists are long. It might also bbe worth getting a referral to a dietician who can help you with weaning etc.

the way they work out allergies tends to be try the foods etc and see what the reaction is. if you are an allergic family i'd take weaning really slow and make sure you do a food diary - my 10 month old is allergic to milk, eggs, soya and many citrus/berry fruits and likely wheat as well. i didn't do a diary until now and it was a nightmare not knowing what on earth he was allergic to. at least now i can see what he's had and refer back for similar reactions to certain foods.

it might be an idea if you dont already to get piriton in the house in case your baby comes out in hives or a bad reaction. and when you do eggs i would do a skin test first - we did this and he was covered in hives so im glad i didn't feed it to him first.

we are being referred to the allergy clinic in glasgow (only one in scotland) in the next couple of months and hopefully will get some help but im not sure about testing itself.

take care and good luck xxx

kennythekangaroo Mon 11-Aug-08 21:21:39

I have an anaphylactic reaction to egg/dairy so kept my DCs off both of them until they could be tested.

DS was tested with pin prick tests on his arm at 15mths. He reacted so we kept him off both egg and dairy until we had him retested last year (age 7). This time he was fine with the pinpricks so had to go through challenges and is now fine with both.

I asked my GP if DD could be tested last month (she was 1 last week) and we have an appt at our local children's word with the allergy doctor next week.

I'm also allergic to penicillin but both DCs have had that with no testing and no reaction.

I'd ask for a referral again but I'd only get him tested for your most severe allergies ie nuts/eggs

Gill79 Mon 11-Aug-08 22:17:36

Thanks BeautifulDay and Kenny. BeautifulDay - what sort of reactions did your DS have (apart from the hives?) I was living in Glasgow when I had the two year wait so it looks like things have improved there anyway!

beautifulday Tue 12-Aug-08 13:22:04


with eggs it was hives and that was me just putting it on his skin

he gets sore bum and sometimes a contact rash around his mouth with citrus berry fruits

he gets eczema flare ups and rashes all over his body with milk and soya and possibly eczema with wheat but not sure as have taken it out of his diet at the mo to check.

eczema is more or less gone at the mo.

he also had reflux as a baby when bf and on formula and i was drinking loads of milk and contact rash with fromage frais/philli and skin rash with diprobase (seemingly its based on soya) and also e45 and soya yoghurt.

I think the waiting list at glasgow is just as bad but we've gotten in quicker as the pead referred us as the dieiticans up here haven't got a clue...and she spoke directly to the dr - i think they might know each other - and he's down in glasgow for a follow up appointment to ECMO (life support machine)that he was on when he was born in October time so they have agreed to tie them both up. i know we are very lucky to get in quickly.

Gill79 Tue 12-Aug-08 21:47:46

oh dear - that all sounds very difficult, having problems with so much stuff. Was he on the life support machine because he was premature?

beautifulday Tue 12-Aug-08 23:38:17

its a struggle at times but we just get on with it!

no he was 15 days late!! i tried everything to get him out but didn't work! drip didn't work either ended up with a ems anyway he had meconium aspiration and group b strep scepticima so was very ill but was home by 3 weeks yorkhill were fantastic...and he doesn't seem to have any side effects so far so we are very lucky.

Gill79 Wed 13-Aug-08 11:21:54

Yikes- sounds like you had it all going on! Glad to hear he is ok now though apart from the allergies. Would be interested to hear what sort of service you get at the clinic. Good luck!

christywhisty Thu 21-Aug-08 22:58:57

Your doctor is right that you don't get allergies until there has been previous exposure and it is not practical to test before a reaction. My son's nut/peanut/seed allergies didn't start until he was 4.
An allergy can start at any time in life.

newbiemumzee Wed 17-Sep-08 22:53:16

Gill79, I have just had dd in for allergy testing this week at 9.5months; she has eczema and reacted badly to formula (redness, swelling etc) at 6 months and so was put on Neocate. I was really careful about weaning and kept her away from all dairy, soya, nuts and berries. After the skin prick tests we found she was allergic to cow's milk and egg, as we suspected and also reacted slightly to fish, cashew and sesame. They didn't test for everything under the sun as you'd be there all day and the babies get bored but did test for specific allergens if you flagged them up as being in the family.
To us the tests were really helpful, as when dd reacted to the formula it was traumatising since her reaction was so severe so now we at least know what to keep her away from. We were lucky enough to have a paediatric unit here where the staff are brilliant and know what they're doing. The skin prick tests basically involve exposing the allergen to a tiny area of the skin so if your lo is allergic they will react to it.
If possible try and see a different gp who will refer you, I was lucky to have a sympathetic gp who just happens to be doing a study in dermatology at the mo so it was in her interests also.

wehaveallbeenthere Wed 17-Sep-08 23:02:56

I can only speak from experience here. I suffer from all kinds of allergies. When I had my children I was told that if you have allergies (and the babies father) then the baby has a 75% chance of being allergic to those allergies too. This as well as forming their own allergies.
You have to come in contact with an allergen twice before you show a reaction.
Some allergies you can outgrow, some you cannot.
I was tested at age 12 (have asthma, bronchitis, had phenumonia twice and warned I probably wouldn't live to 20 unless I left my state...Iowa). I have a file that is an inch and a half thick and am not supposed to eat anything but melba toast, peanut butter (go figure that one) and root beer. I'm allergic to everything else food wise in varying degrees.
I have now discovered that I have formed an allergy to the allergy medications.
I think you need to get a second opinion. If they agree then do what you can to make your child as comfortable as you can. You can only do what you can do...after that you can do no more. Good luck on it.

strawberrycornetto Wed 17-Sep-08 23:26:13

Hi Gill. We are just about to go for allergy testing for DS who is 7 months old (you might have seen me mention on the PN Feb thread smile). Some of this information may help but I am definitely not an expert and other people on here do know lots about this issue.

DS has had two reactions to cows milk, the first time he got a hives type rash around his face and the second time I put it on his arm and he got a big red mark on his arm. I also think he may have had a reaction to sunflower oil when we did baby massage and to almond oil from my hair shampoo.

I have only discussed the milk reaction. My HV and doctor did take it seriously. They referred me to a dietician and we are seeing her tomorrow so if she says anything helpful I will post. I did make it clear that I was really worried about him starting nursery but they managed to get me that appointment less than 2 weeks after the second reaction so I was really impressed.

Neither the HV or the doctor suggested separate allergy testing or that I should take him to an allergy specialist. I have pushed for this myself because I asked about it on here and the general consensus seemed to be that it would be helpful. I also rang allergy UK helpline and they were very helpful. They advised that he should see an allergy specialist and gave me the names of specialists in our area that we could be referred to either privately or on the NHS. I am lucky that this is covered by my medical insurance so we are going privately. I went back to see my GP and asked for a private referral and he made one for us.(Not sure whether he would have done an NHS one though). I am going to the clinic of Professor Lack at the Portland although the letter has just come through and we are actually seeing Dr Du Toit. I could have taken him there privately without a referral but it was expensive (£300 for the consultation plus £200 for the skin test and £200 for the blood test).

I don't know whether I am being a neurotic over panicky mother or whether I have anything to worry about but I would really like to know one way or the other. I hope the testing will give us some more information although I am not really sure what to expect. I imagine they will test only for the things he has been exposed to and had potential reactions to (I haven't given him egg yet for example).

As a PS, I am also allergic to brazil nuts. I haven't been tested either. When I was a teenager I had two reactions, both times my lips swelled up and it was really scary. I have twice spoken to GPs about it and have been fobbed off both times. Having read more about allergies for DS I am now quite scared and am thinking about having separate testing done myself although I think I would have to pay. My GP said that since "only my lips swelled up" that was nothing to worry about and I am not convinced this is accurate advice. hmm

wehaveallbeenthere Thu 18-Sep-08 00:03:17

Gil and Strawberry, Please don't fret. There are lots of babies that start out allergic and outgrow their allergies.
I just happen to be one of those extreme cases that seems to react to everything under the sun (my doctor once asked what planet I was from..jokingly of course).
My sister and brothers aren't allergic to anything at all (yes, same mother and father) but my sisters son has a shellfish allergy from his father.
Just try to find out all the information you can and make knowledgeable choices from there. Before you know it your children will be of school age and you probably won't have to give baby allergies a second thought.
My three have seasonal allergies (well, the latter two anyway) and that is it. They don't seem to have any medical or food/pet allergies or anything along the same line as myself.

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