Egg challenge, take one

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For the few of you who are more into allergies than failed procreating, let me tell you what made Wednesday (our pregnancy test day) more bearable: Snort had to spend the day in the children’s hospital for his egg challenge.

A food challenge is given when the doctor believes, based on bloods, skin prick, and history, that a child has outgrown a food allergy. In the case of eggs, powdered egg is mixed in with yogurt, and then increasingly large amounts fed to the child. In our case, half teaspoon, teaspoon, two teaspoons, four teaspoons, and about seven teaspoons. I don’t recall the equivalent in whole eggs that a kid eats. Maybe two? Each dose was given every fifteen minutes, and was testing for tolerance for cooked/partially cooked eggs.

This happened in hospital, with a nurse constantly at our bedside, doctors within reach, and proscribed medicines at the ready in case Snort had a nasty reaction. Prior to each dose, his oxygen levels, heart rate, temperature, and breathing sounds were checked.

He had one weird cough after the second dose, and a bigger bout of coughing after the third. His lung sounds were all clear, though. What was interesting was that he started the thing in high spirits. He and the little girl in the bed opposite raced round and round the room, pretending to be race cars. As more egg was given, his energy plummeted, he began to complain of tummy pain, and he just went all quiet and limp. He also had itching.

The challenge carried on, since tummy pain is more of an intolerance thing and they wanted to see if he still had an allergy. Well, he made it all the way to the end of stage two (stage one is eating eggs in cake, called a cake challenge, and we’d been able to skip that. Stage two is yogurt with egg mixed in, stage three is raw egg.) and then I was like, ‘Was his cheek like that before?’

For some reason, he responds to egg by getting a bright red patch on his left cheek. While I was peering at his cheek, the nurse came over to do his observations. Then I was all, ‘Hey, dude, he’s got a hive on his temple.’ By the time she had looked at it, hives had sprouted on his nose and the corners of his eyes. The egg challenge was cancelled and antihistamines were given. We had to stay for observations.

As it always does, the antihistamine quashed it. No more hives, and the ones he had subsided quickly. His energy levels shot back up, he was playing race cars again, etc….and then myself and the nurse noticed him scratching his arm. I pulled back his shirt sleeve. DUDE.

He had a second major (technically minor as it was not anaphylaxis, but it was a pretty big minor response!) reaction about an hour after the meds, just as we were getting ready to go home. Hives on his eyelids, forehead, neck, shoulders, arm, back, face. His eczema behind his knees flared, and bizarrely the inside of his outer ears became coated in eczema (nothing he’s ever had). They also turned a lurid maroon colour and were boiling to the touch. His temperature shot up, his eyes began swelling. His face became very flushed, as did the back of his head. Collections of hives joined together to make giant blisters. He was stripped naked and we found his groin was also a lurid maroon colour and hot to the touch. WTF. The nurse paged doctors, talk was made of injecting steroids.

His breathing was still fine, though, so as he had already had the maximum safe dose of antihistamines for a twenty four hour period, it was decided to let him tough it out and see how he did.

And, folks, brother was awesome. Within an hour most hives were gone, and the rest were setting down. His tummy pain subsided, his ears slowly faded to a normal flesh colour,etc. By the next day you’d never know he’d had any reaction, though let’s say his potty has seen a lot of unpleasant action today.

The nurse said he is probably outgrowing his egg allergy and is right on the cusp of passing the egg challenge. We will probably wait a year and try again, hopefully passing stage two and aiming to pass stage three as well. In the meantime, we go back to avoiding egg. And, oh yeah, his minimal wheat allergy (seriously, what the HELL) may be ramping up. Fish fingers have caused him to have much unpleasant potty time for the last three exposures. And he was sick today after having bread at lunch. So wheat and fish are going to be more closely explored. Add that to his egg and peanut allergies and probable dairy intolerances, and you have a kid who would be exclusively eating raw vegetable creations if his mama was more caring and talented.

His bloods and skin prick suggested he had no egg allergy anymore, yet obviously now he is still classed as having an allergy to eggs. His peanut bloods suggested a stage three allergy (zero=no allergy, five = this shit will kill you), though his skin prick suggested a much more severe allergy and the doctor was confused as to the moderate blood result. His wheat bloods suggest a stage one allergy, though the solution for the skin prick was not available on the day. But going by his peanut and egg tests, perhaps his wheat allergy is actually more severe than the bloods think. Whoop de woo.

Much like cats and dust mites, and our failure to avoid them (Snort’s other allergies, at least of the ones I can recall), we are keeping wheat on the menu for now. Otherwise all that brotha has to eat is plums and clementines. And raw carrots.

Our discharge paperwork suggested getting him a medic alert bracelet. I’ve found some kid friendly ones that are nylon, with the metal alert plate sewn on to it, but I think they look so normal and kid-like that no one would realise it was medical. I also don’t really think it is totally necessary yet. Maybe in another year or so, when he will be attending classes and things without me present. Do any other allergy kids out there have medical jewellery? Link me up if so. He already has this very cool hardy plastic bracelet, with allergies written in on pen along with my phone number, that permanently is looped onto his backpack.

So. Yes. This has largely been a week of allergies and diarrhoea filled potties, among the more dark and disappointing non pregnancy results. Congrats if you read this far. You deserve a medal.

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8 Responses to “Egg challenge, take one”

  1. Liv Says:

    It’s not us that deserve the medal! Keeping on with the day to day stuff without being swamped by the negative test results was like wading through shit on a monthly basis as I remember it. Wear your medal with pride (despite the fact it sounds like you pretty much ARE wading through the aforementioned this week…).

  2. Ellie Says:

    We’ve lots of food allergies, celiac, asthma &c here …. I am wondering, if they think he is phasing out of having the egg allergy, and yet his reaction was That Strong, maybe he was reacting to the dairy — the yogurt that the egg solution was placed in? Because that seems a crazy strong reaction to me, a stranger inside the ethernet. Anyhow, like I say, my children and I have all sorts of things like this, so I’m somewhat familiar … Just wanting to offer commiseration! I am so sorry it has been such a rough and disappointing week for you all!

    • me Says:

      Ah, he has had much much stronger allergic reactions in the past. And he’s never had an allergic reaction to dairy! This was definitely the egg, which he did have a 2mm hive response to during the skin prick. At least we know egg probably won’t kill him if he has the odd accidental bite!

    • me Says:

      Oh, and it was our yogurt from home, so no nasty surprises with it!

  3. Lyssie Says:

    I wear a medical alert necklace for all my numerous allergies, mine came from here http://www.universalmedicalid.com/mkt_uk/category_viewall.php?shopby=17 I’ve linked the kid’s page but not sure how tiny they go down to. I did have a bracelet from medic alert for a while (2 in fact) but the red kept coming off them which kind of defeated the point of having it to alert people.

  4. sarah Says:

    they do the egg challenge differently here in herts. S gets a dab of cooked egg on the cheek. if no reaction, a dab on the lips. if no reaction, then eat a small amount. if no reaction, eat more.

    so far we’ve never got past stage 1.

    Next appointment in the New year hopefully.

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