Food Allergies Are Scary. And now we’re confused.


I don’t think the title of this post even remotely touches how scary food allergies really are.

I’ve taken a back-seat from my blog for the past month because my daughter has been hospitalized twice due to her food allergy. It’s been something we’ve been struggling with, because a new one has developed. A couple years ago M had an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to shellfish. We’ve steered clear since then, and have done a pretty decent job at it until March.

As you may/may not know, my family and I are Catholic. During Lent, we observe the tradition of not eating meat on Fridays, and instead eat fish. This year, we stuck to cheese pizza nearly every Friday-until we found a fish monger in our area who would accommodate my daughter’s allergy. We were assured that our fish was prepared in a clean (and shellfish free) station with new gloves and clean knives.

That night, she had a slight reaction.

We weren’t sure what was going on, but the folks in the ER that night determined (without testing) that she was most likely allergic to fish now too.

We accepted it, and decided as a family to go ahead and cut out fish, on top of shellfish. You just can’t be too careful.

Then last Thursday rolled around, and we went to one of our favorite BBQ joints. M ordered some hush puppies and gobbled them up. And then on our way out, we notice a sign.


Um. Okay.

That might have been helpful as a sign on the way in.

So we say a prayer and head for some ice cream. I know what you’re thinking. How could they not be freaking out? Well, honestly, we tried to keep in mind that it’s very difficult to have a reaction to protein from sharing fried oil (this is according to our allergy specialist). That, and we were still holding out hope that she wasn’t allergic to fish after all.

Then sure enough, about 2 hours later, M starts itching. Then starts vomiting. Then the chest pains begin.

And we head back to the ER.

The ER for sure is convinced that it’s fish this time. And she’s getting worse, so they shoot her up with epinephrine, 2 doses of benedryl, zyrtec and a zofran.

It’s the allergy kiddie cocktail!

Now here’s where things get confusing. And scary. And frustrating. Did I mention confusing?

We head back to her allergist Thursday to do her follow up one week later. We re-test everything. Scratch for shellfish and fish.

And the scratch test comes up negative.

I don’t even know what to say.

So the doc sends us to Children’s to do some blood tests.

Those results won’t be back for a few days, but I’m so confused. How can she be having these reactions- and the scratch come up negative?

We’ve chatted with her primary pediatrician about it, and he says it could be because these tests don’t cover all the proteins in the food- but our allergist swears that that isn’t the case.

Have any of you had this experience? I really need advice here. Food allergies are scary- and now I don’t have any answers!


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  1. (1.) Angela Current (@AngelaCurrent)April 13th, 2012
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