(This is the first in a series of posts on our experiences as we trial our son who has multiple food allergies with oral food challenges at home. Oral food challenges should always be performed under direct medical supervision based on each patient’s individual reaction history. Please do not try oral food challenges at home on your own without medical approval.)
As many of you know, we have been performing oral food challenges at home (with our allergist's approval) with foods that our 2-year-old has previously tested positive via IgE RAST test to be allergic to. These past few weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for us as parents, as we've gone from a successful positive high only to be defeated by a failed oral food challenge. We continue to be vigilant, though, to better provide our son with the nutrition he needs to thrive.
Oral Food Challenges – Expanding Our Child's Diet
Below is an update on some of our recent oral food challenges.
Egg Oral Food Challenge Revisited
This egg oral food challenge is becoming the oral food challenge that won't go away. We trialed baked egg with our son as instructed by his allergist, only to succumb to the defeat of a failed challenge. But something wasn't sitting right with me. Deep down inside, I questioned if he really failed the baked egg challenge or if some other allergen set him off. Then we fed Mitch a corn tortilla with Amylase and he had the same reaction. Maybe he didn't fail the baked egg challenge after all?
A few days later I baked another batch of cookies with baked egg and baked wheat and guess what, no reaction! Our baby successfully consumed baked egg with no reaction. I can't believe it! If there's one thing this proves, it's to always follow your instinct.
Pork Oral Food Challenge
In a search to add more protein into Mitch's diet, we decided to trial pork again in the form of bacon.
In May 2012, we requested pork be tested as a possible food allergy because we believed Mitch was reacting to it. Sure enough, it came back as a low Class 3 allergen at 3.96 on and IgE RAST test. We retested pork with a skin prick test in November 2012 and this allergen produced a 3mm wheal. The pork was safe for us to trial again at home.
We fed Mitch a slice of pan-fried bacon and sat and waited. Then we fed him another slice a day later and sat and waited. He had no reaction at all. Yes! Not only is this another protein we can add back into Mitch's diet, it's a protein he loves, and it's a protein that is inexpensive.
Oat Oral Food Challenge
Three days ago, I got a wild hair to trial oats again with Mitch. I didn't bake the oats at home, but instead gave him a few Cheerios to eat and sat and waited.
Mitch has now been eating Cheerios for three days with absolutely no reaction! He is doing so well with the allergens we have tried, and I am so thrilled we had another successful oral food challenge.
It's hard not to be on cloud nine with his recent food allergy oral food challenges results. I know he still has a long way to go before we will see him start gaining weight again and before it will be easier for him to be included in activities. But this is a positive start and I am holding out hope that we will continue to have more successful trials.
Mitch still has a laundry list of food allergies we have been approved to challenge orally at home, and I have already thought about what I would like to try next.
Since he had a successful baked wheat challenge, I would like to try a cracker with wheat. Then, I would like to try Sunbutter. Mitch's previous IgE RAST test in November 2011, resulted with a high Class 2 sunflower allergy at 3.34. This allergen was not retested during the last skin prick test.
I dream of the day he can successfully eat some type of convenient butter spread on crackers and bread. The day I can substitute a mock-peanut butter to our favorite peanut butter-laden recipes so our entire family can enjoy them again.
When you live with multiple food allergies or care for someone who does, you realize how much you cherish the simplest things in life, like safely eating Cheerios or safely eating a staple food for children like a (mock) peanut butter sandwich.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. This is simply a recount of our personal experience. Always check with a doctor about any allergy-related issues.