Thursday, December 3, 2009

In Which Connor Has Allergy Testing

Connor had his allergy testing done this morning. The doctor listened to my crazy story involving Connor's possible reaction to lavender, and then asked about some of his other medical issues. She told me that she wouldn't be surprised if lavender was the culprit, as it is "extremely strong stuff" and it's pretty telling that since we've purged the house of lavender he's had no major outbreaks of hives. However she went on to say that they have no specific skin test for lavender, and that while they'll use a mixture of lavender and saline to test his skin she doesn't necessarily expect any results given some of Connor's other strange medical conditions. She also recommended we test some common allergy triggers, such as dust mites and pollen, to see if he's allergic to anything else.

So they tested a variety of different common allergens in the area on Connor's skin. This is the first time I'd ever seen an allergy test administered, and they're pretty interesting. First they labeled the inside of Connor's arms with a pen as to which test they were doing where. Next they picked up a sort of grid with tiny pins on the end of little sticks. Each pin was dipped into a different allergen. They pressed the pins down on Connor's arm and each tiny pin pricked an individual area, inoculating it with a drop of the allergen. Connor, surprisingly enough, was perfectly fine with this; he didn't show much of a reaction at all. It's supposed to itch like gangbusters, but he seemed perfectly comfortable. Then they set a timer and we waited to see if anything would show up. If after the time was up you could feel a raised bump and see a red spot where an allergen had been placed, then that was considered a positive test.

They tested Connor for ten different common allergens and also crushed up some lavender and tried that too. He was negative for everything, including the lavender, except for one thing on the list.

Cats. Lovely.

We discussed this pleasant development with the immunologist (they are the doctors who deal with allergy issues in our hospital) and she told us that since Connor's not stuffing up or having red or watery eyes the second we walk in the door of our apartment, and he doesn't seem to have any adverse reaction after playing with Cricket and Loki (or any other cat, for that matter), that she's not concerned about the reaction. She suggested trying to cut down on the areas where cat hair or dander could be trapped, and was delighted to hear that our new home won't be carpeted, as carpet is apparently a hotbed for allergens. She also told us to continue to stay away from lavender and, if possible, other really strong perfumes and herbal scents as well since they might also trigger a reaction. She said she's seen patients who persistently have a negative skin test to a substance even while they're going into anaphylactic shock from contact with that substance. Crazy.

So in conclusion, Connor tested negative for something he has a major reaction to and positive to something he doesn't. Isn't that just our little guy to a T?

We managed to get Connor a swine flu shot while we were there, so it wasn't a totally wasted day. Oh well.



Julia O'C said...

I....I don't even know what to say. But I think I have an idea for a housewarming gift!


Niksmom said...

Frustraing, isn't it? We've been through it with Nik. He doesn't test "allergic" to wheat/gluten grains, legumes, milk...yet he has horrible reactions to all of them. Go figure.

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