Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Allergy Testing

 Last week we visited an allergist at my pediatrician's request because Santiago has been sick so many times since last October at least.  He has had many sinus infections, constant congestion, coughing and a limp that would come and go since January.  We have had many tests run after having many episodes of high fevers and so called viruses and the allergist was the next logical place to go to try to get to the bottom of what causes Santi to get sick all the time.   Sometimes I feel like I am being a little over the top when it comes to all this stuff and I wonder if I am doing too much or worrying too much but the bottom line is that I love my little boy and I want him to be healthy so I will do whatever it takes to make sure he is well.  That's what mommas and daddies  are supposed to do!  So after last week's visit with the allergist, we had to go back today for allergy testing to figure out what exactly Santiago is allergic to in our area.  He was quite the trooper!  We had to be there at 11 am for the first round of testing called pricks.  This part was done using this little device that was soaked in different allergenic liquids and the nurse placed them on Santi's back and sort of scratched his skin with them.  You can see in the next picture that she did 3 scratches but each one had 8 allergens on them.  Santi had to sit on my lap and lean on my chest and baby bump.  The first one labeled A didn't bother Santi at all, B made him squirm a little and then C made him cry but not for very long.  He had to stay real still for about 10 minutes on me and then the nurse came back in and measured the reactions that formed on his back.  The biggest one from this test was DOG! I immediately asked if that meant we were going to have to get rid of Roxie, or at least make her an outside dog, and she said not necessarily, but the doctor would let me know.
 We got to leave the allergy clinic after being there for about an hour for the first round of testing.  We had to go to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for a numbing cream for his second round of testing.  We also went to eat at Chickfila and then home to rest for just a short while.  I had to apply the cream to Santi's back an hour before our next appointment and wrap him in Saran wrap to keep the cream on his skin and off his shirt.  About 10 minutes after wrapping him up, he began to cry and tell me that his back hurt so much.  The nurse told me that it was going to heat up and begin to tingle as it numbed his back about 10 minutes after applying the cream.  Sure enough, that's all it was and he was fine again in about 5 more minutes. 
 He even took himself with his favorite pillow and blanket to my room to lay down to rest because he was tired.  He only got to rest for about 10 minutes before I had to load him back in the car to go back to the clinic for round two of testing.  I was not looking forward to this part but Santiago did really well.  He really is a trooper!  The nurse said I did a great job of applying the cream because his skin was really red meaning that it was very numb.  Again he sat on my lap facing me so he could hug me tight and so the nurse could do the testing.  This time she put tape strands on his back to label the different spots that she had to prick his back with needles for the allergy testing.  Santi was fine for the first almost half of the little under the skin injections and then he began to tense up and try to get away for the rest.  The nurse worked quickly and Santi cried and kept repeating "me don't like the pokey part" I just held him tight and kept telling him how brave he was being and that it was almost over.  I think he got 13 tiny shots under the skin and then one more of the pricking devices like he had in the morning.  The pricking thing was for food allergies this time instead of just pollens and other environmental allergens. The nurse said what he felt wasn't the actual needle but the liquid entering his body through the shot.  You can see in the next pictures that he immediately started reacting to many of these pricks and he came out positive for some of the typical allergies that I more or less suspected. 

 My sweet boy just wanted to go home!  He didn't get to nap today because the second round of testing was during his normal afternoon nap time.  He did fall asleep on the way back to the clinic but only got about 10 minutes in before the testing began.  When the nurse was finished with all the little shots, I sang him his favorite lullaby - Captain Curly Head - and he settled down really fast. 

 We waited for about 30 minutes for the nurse to come back and measure and rate his reactions and then we had to wait for the doctor to come in and explain the results and her suggestions.  We found out that Santi is allergic to certain pollens and molds, dust mites, dogs, and the one surprising food allergy - Peanuts!  I was shocked because Santi never has a reaction of any kind when eating peanut butter or peanuts.  We were advised to stop giving Santi anything anything peanut to eat for at least a year because it could make this allergy develop into a more serious allergy.  She did say that if he ate something that had a little peanut cooked in it that it would be ok and that we shouldn't worry but try our best not to give him any.  WHOOPS it just dawned on me while typing this that we went to eat Chickfila today and they cook with peanut oil...hmmm?!? I wonder if that means no more Chickfila : (

I was relieved to learn that Santiago was too young to receive allergy shots at this time and that she wanted us to try to control the allergies around the house with preventive measures and wants to try giving Santiago a different nasal spray and continue taking Singulair.    She is a strong believer in the nasal sprays and thinks that he will do well taking it as needed.  We will go back in a month for a follow up visit - not sure when that will be yet because the baby is due in a month but we will figure it out!  She did mention that we will most likely need to test again in a year for the peanut allergy to see if it has progressed or gotten better and that he may possibly need the allergy shots at 5 or 6 years old if we are unable to control his allergies with other measures. 
You can see that Santi cheered up quickly after his pricking and was a very tough little boy.  I'm very proud of him and all that he has been through in his two and half years of life.  He is very strong!  I love him dearly!!
After his testing, we came home and ate a big snack and a popsicle and then headed to his last swim lesson.  He had a blast there and was very worn out by time we got home tonight! I'm worn out as well : ) 

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