Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oral Immunotherapy and the dangers (Example)

I told you yesterday in my daily post that I would explain to you what oral immunotherapy is.

Let me start by letting you know that there are many different types of immunotherapies. The most common is injection. That is where they take a miniscule amount of something you are allergic to (when injected this is usually an environmental allergy like grass or pollen) and inject it into your body through a needle. They slowly will give you increased amounts over the course of a few years, starting at going into the Dr's office weekly.

My son, however, is practicing oral immunotherapy with eggs. What we do is bake egg into something such as a muffin, cake or cookie. This way it extensively heats the eggs, destroying the proteins enough that the body does not recognize it as a threat and does not attack it.  At first my son would get welts on his lips from eating the muffins with eggs baked in but with a swishing of Zyrtec in the mouth those welts would fade away.

We tested my son 2 weeks prior to his muffin test and he had a welt about the size of a quarter, maybe bigger. So, we know that he is still allergic to eggs. We are just hoping that feeding him eggs everyday in the state that his body accepts it, he will grow out of this allergy or at least tolerate it better.

We tried the muffin test with his allergist before ever doing this at home. Over the course of 2 hours they fed him 1 muffin watching for any reactions. This test is very dangerous and SHOULD NOT be tried at home! After we found out we could do this with eggs, we waited a few weeks and tried with milk. He did better than he did with the egg for the first hour. Then after feeding him the last little bit he went into anaphylactic shock. I noticed about a minute after he finished his muffin that he started to turn pink around his eyes. Then he started to itch right by his ears and complain while itching his hands. His whole body turned bright red and hives formed on his cheeks. I called in the nurse when i started to notice him itch and by the time she had the epinephrine shot in hand he was beat red and covered in hives. They gave him a shot to the arm and he started to calm down. The Allergist came in and told us that because we caught it so fast that he wont need another shot, he will just need to be watched a couple more hours. So, he leaves the room and within a matter of minutes I notice my son start scratching again. His face is becoming more red, his hands and arms are bright red. The way I explained it before was that if you had a terrible sunburn and ran a mile in 100 degree weather, you still would not be as red as he was. He was a little tomato. At this point I am freaking out. He is getting worse and obviously the epinephrine is not helping. They have to hold him down as hes begging them not to stick him and they give him another, this time in a better spot to be delivered better and faster. They pumped him full of epinephrine, Zyrtec, other allergy meds and steroids. We were there 5 hours before they let us go home. And he still had to be watched carefully and taken to the ER if the symptoms came back. It is a scary thing to see your child suffering like that, not knowing if the doctors can help or if one little muffin is going to kill your baby. Since it was so recent (This year!) I am still not completely over it. I am more scared than ever to have him around milk and blame myself a little for letting them test him when I had that bad feeling the whole time about it.

So, the point of sharing that experience with you is to back up my reasoning for telling you to never try that at home! Without all of the things they had available there, my son may not have made it the 10 minutes it takes to drive to the hospital.

Other than the possibility of being denied the treatment of immunotherapy it can be a great thing to help you get over or tolerate an allergy.

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