Saturday, January 17, 2015

Illness and Allergies

Did you know that when you are sick, your immune system is not as strong? To some of you, that may be obvious. But, did you also know that when your immune system is down like that, you are more likely to suffer an allergic reaction? 

My son is undergoing oral immunotherapy. What we do is we feed my son eggs, although he is allergic to it. We, in a sense, trick his body into outgrowing the allergy. To do this, you need have have a food challenge under the supervision of an allergist. We did what is called "The Muffin Test". We baked muffins with eggs in them. We then took it with us to the allergists office and fed one to him, slowly over the course of 6 hours. He passed this test, so we now feed it to him at home. Let me clarify, Gabriel is still allergic to eggs! When the egg is baked at such a high temperature, the egg's protein changes enough that his body does not recognize it as the threat it believes egg to be. This does not work on everyone. That is why it is so important to only test in a controlled environment, supervised by a doctor. In fact, we also did the muffin test with baked milk. In that instance, we thought he would pass. But, he ended up going into anaphylactic shock. It was the worst I had seen. We caught it incredibly fast and gave him epinephrine. His doctor told me that we caught it so soon that he definitely will not need another dose. But, about 2-3 minutes after his first injection, he started to go back into anaphylactic shock. His entire body was red to the point of turning purple, itchy, burning and his face was covered in hives. His doctor, to this day, says he thinks about it often. After multiple epinephrine injections and strong medications, we were able to take him home. But, obviously, he failed miserably at that muffin test. If we had tried it at home, it is likely it would have ended much differently. That scares the crumb out of me!

Getting back to the point; when you are sick, your immune system is down. Therefore, you are more likely to have a reaction. We have been advised not to give him anything containing egg if he is sick. He will be more likely to have a reaction. This also applies when he has had a reaction within the last week or two, depending on how severe the reaction was. So, while you are very mindful and careful with an allergic person, it is a good idea to be even more cautious if they have been sick or had an allergic reaction recently. Taking them to a restaurant where you might trust ingredients or to a place where allergens may be present might be better to hold off until they are back to 100%. While they might not be contact reactive on a normal occasion, they may be during that time. It takes less exposure to cause a reaction than is normal.

Did you know any of that? Let me know in the comments below! 

No comments:

Post a Comment