My kids are still young, ages five and six, as of this writing. Even so we’ve been through our fair share of allergy tests. My boys have each had several skin prick tests and one blood test each. One son has had a challenge test and the other is currently scheduled for one.
At the last blood test, the blood-taking nurse said to my five year old, “So you don’t feel so good after eating certain foods, huh?” Then she laughed heartily. I was dumbfounded. I think my five year old was too. I sat on the chair holding him on my lap and we said nothing. We just looked at her back as she had turned around after laughing to enter a few items into her computer. How could a nurse or anyone be so insensitive as to ask a question like that when she knows he has food allergies and then laugh out loud? What was she laughing at? Our misfortune? If she wasn’t about to take three little vials of blood from my “baby” I might have just confronted her on why she was laughing.
Aside from the lack of personal tact, there are other frustrations that I have with food allergy testing. Specifically, skin prick tests can show false positives, meaning it may show that you are allergic to x when in fact you are not. Further, the blood tests can show false negatives, meaning it may show you are not allergic to y when in fact you are. Then there is the ultimate “challenge” test where you child eats or drinks the food in a substantial quantity, which you have studiously avoided for the past few years.
When my older son went in for his dairy challenge test, his blood test had been negative but the skin prick was positive. The doctor said he was, “90% sure he would not react during the challenge test to the dairy.” But, he did react and had to receive epinephrine in the doctor’s office. Our current allergist advised us that she would only do a challenge test if both the skin prick and blood tests come back negative. This seems to make more sense to me so we are on our path to this test now.
While a definitive, non-risky test is something we all would like, I’d like to learn if there is any consensus from mothers, fathers or people who undergone the tests themselves, like teenagers, on what tests work best. Please comment on what tests or combination of tests and results seem to have been most accurate in your experience.