Monday, September 24, 2012

Crash Course in Allergies

Today was the long-awaited allergist appointment for N, where I was going to get all my questions answered. And I did, but like all of life, things are just a bit different than you expect them to turn out.

1. Does N have a milk allergy? A: no. He has a milk sensitivity. You've already done the test: he got better on a dairy free diet. Suggest testing with lactose-free milk to determine wether it's lactose or milk once and for all.

That was my big question, and I was really hoping for more information and time spent discussing the topic, but he was patient with me and repeated the same answer in many different word combinations: no milk allergy, lady.

2. Does he have seasonal allergies? A: no...but yes. Huh? I brought him here for a milk allergy, but now you're ordering a skin test that does not test for milk even though I clearly see a "milk" vial in that fancy allergy test box. What's going on? Are you testing for a milk allergy or not? I'm sure he's got seasonal allergies like ragweed or hay fever, that's why I give him Zyrtec! Of course I didn't say all this, just some of it (are you sure you don't want to test for milk??), and allowed the skin test to continue. N was a gem and only wiggled when the nurse scratched his back. She also allowed him to choose the marker to number his skin 1-20, so his back in the photo looks much worse than it was- he chose red.

3. So what are the results? Mold. Outdoor mold allergy season begins in March and increases in severity until November in Minnesota once everything freezes.

That's when I had an "ah-ha" moment, to use a teacher term: when I "got it." 1. He seems allergic to everything (and by that I mean milk and pollen) because mold is ALWAYS present outdoors (fortunately we have no known mold in the house). The only non-mold months are during cold and flu season! Not milk, not pollen but MOLD. Who knew?
2. His hospitalization for asthma/pneumonia occurred last October, in the peak of mold season (think decaying wet leaves). Now I see the connection and am sure it was an asthma attack. I distinctly remember an informal photo shoot in a leaf pile last fall, and I'm wondering if it was the day before that happened. No more leaf piles this year!

3. Because allergies are genetic (Hubs meets Dr. H in 2 weeks) it is possible that N will develop more allergies as he ages. I'm certain that Hubs' allergy test will yield many more positives, so it will be helpful to know what to look for in N in the future.

Today was a crash course in allergies for me. Now I'm going to stock up on Zyrtec and get some lactose free milk (still a bit leery about that experiment). N was rewarded for his excellent cooperation with a McD's breakfast sandwich and juice. What a sweetie


Meika said...

Brave boy! Those allergy tests are no fun!

KJ said...

Oh those tests are no fun! We had to do that with our twins too. Glad you got answers though! When we went through it we found out they are allergic to nothing! We should be up in MN in late October!