Baby Food Allergy Skin Test and Blood Test
After Mina had an anaphylactic allergic reaction to eggs and went to the ER, we made sure to test her for other potential food allergens. She had both a food allergy skin test and blood test to assess which common food allergens she could be allergic to and the severity.
Baby Food Allergy Skin Test
At Mina’s 1 year pediatrician appointment, her doctor recommended an allergist for us – Dr. Danica Schulte at Southern California Allergy in Encino, CA. Dr. Schulte did a skin test on Mina’s back using a small needle-free 6-pronged plastic device that has bristles at the end with the allergenic solutions.
We picked from a list of foods to test, which were grouped together (dairies, nuts, fruits, etc.). We could also choose “a la cart” if there was one specific food we wanted to test. This test was needle-free and didn’t prick her skin (although if you pick one specific food to test, I think they do that one with a needle).
In addition to egg, based on the skin test, we found out she’s allergic to dairy, peanuts, hazelnuts and cashews. Pistachio didn’t show a reaction, but the allergist said Mina could be allergic to pistachios since the protein composition is similar to cashews.
Baby Food Allergy Blood Test
Next step was to get a blood test to see how severe her allergies are – i.e. can she have egg/dairy in baked form or not at all? We did the blood draw at Children’s Hospital Lab in Encino, which was recommended by our doctor. Going to a lab that specializes in working with babies and children is highly recommended (instead of going to a local Quest Diagnostics) because they are experienced in managing children, making the overall experience much quicker and hassle-free. I’ve heard bad stories from friends that have taken their children to local labs and having their kids pricked multiple times and the overall experience just being a bit more traumatizing. The lab drew 3 vials to test her 3 main allergens (egg, dairy, nuts).
The Blood Test Results
We got the blood test results back and had a video call with Dr. Schulte. She said the results looked good and she’s hoping Mina can outgrow her egg, dairy, peanut, cashew & hazelnut allergies.
The good news is Mina came back negative for peanuts! We’re hoping the skin test reaction was a false positive – it was the smallest in size vs. the other allergens.
The main allergens in dairy (casein) and cashew came back negative, which is a good sign. Mina is allergic to the whey protein in dairy, so we’ll first test dairy in the baked form. For cashew, she’s allergic to the whole nut, but not the target protein.
Hazelnuts might still be a concern, so we’ll have her try it in the office. Some components of almond also came back positive, so we will test that as well.
Her egg allergy was in the “moderate” category, which wouldn’t normally cause an anaphylactic reaction. We’re hoping that means she’s become less allergic over time (3 months have passed from when the allergic reaction occurred to when she got the blood test), but we’re going to test egg last and allow for more time to pass.
Plan of Action
Next step is to start her oral challenges at the allergist’s office. An oral challenge is when one allergen is given in small increments over 3 hours. A tiny crumb is given and you’re monitored for 20-30 minutes for any allergic reactions. If there are no reactions, you are given a little more each 20-30 minutes. If there is an allergic reaction, depending on the severity, it is either treated with Benadryl or epinephrine, in severe cases. Either way, the oral challenge stops at that point, and the allergen will be tested again about 6 months later.
Hopefully this recap is helpful for anyone that may have food allergies. Let me know if you have any questions! You can read about Mina’s severe egg allergy story here, which was the catalyst for testing all main allergens. This post goes into detail about each oral challenge and how Mina’s been doing.