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Latest Home Tests

February 27, 2013

When it comes to testing Joseph’s allergies at home to see if he’s grown out of it or not, my husband is more aggressive than I am. He’s also a big fan of “iocaning” (a la The Princess Bride) where we give him the allergen in the hope that he gets desensitized to it. It’s a bit of a struggle at times, but at least he usually asks before he goes ahead and does it.

The latest episode, my husband wanted to give Joseph some ice-cream and see how he reacted. We were at a church function, so I certainly didn’t want anything big. I told him he could spread some on his cheek and see if it broke out in hives. He put a teeny amount on his right cheek, but it apparently wasn’t enough to cause a reaction, because a bit later, he put some on the other cheek without telling me. So when hives erupted on his left cheek, I started trying to figure out how he had eaten some dairy ice-cream, if his ice-cream had been contaminated, etc. At least my husband agrees – yep, he’s still allergic.

Then while I was on vacation, my husband gave Joseph one wheat thin and one cheeto. He says there were no hives from the cheese on the cheeto (which has happened before). However, the next day, his eczema flared up. So I’d say he’s still allergic to wheat.

Have any of you had to deal with spouses/other family members who want to challenge food allergies more than you do? What are your experiences?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    March 6, 2013 4:44 pm

    My mom, aunt, and I all deal with food allergies and intolerances. Gaining understanding can be difficult. For a bit of hope, my stake relief society function started with a survey for food allergies so they could accommodate us at the luncheon and allergy free foods are becoming more available. Trader Joe’s is the cheapest and best we’ve found in California and Utah.

    On a more scientific note, have you heard of turnover of memory B cells in the outgrowing of allergies? A professor of mine at BYU taught in my immunology class that there is research showing that some memory B cells (the ones that make antibodies that cause allergic reactions- along with good immune functions) don’t live forever. However, if exposed to their particular target (the food culprit) they will activate and replicate (meaning new memory B cells that carry the food allergy on to this new generation of cells). I vaguely remember 7 years being a possible turnover rate for some if they aren’t exposed to their target. This professor shared a personal anecdote about her own overcoming of a peanut allergy by completely avoiding peanuts for 5-7 years (don’t remember exactly). She is now no longer allergic.

    Obviously, listen to your doctor and your own research. I just thought if you didn’t know, I could possibly be of help and hope and provide a new tactical idea.

    • March 6, 2013 4:59 pm

      That is an interesting thought, about the B cells dying off. Though there does seem to be some evidence that immunotherapy also helps to outgrow allergies (exposure to small, increasing amounts over time). Maybe both work.

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