Superman has had 8 food challenges, and 6 of them have been SUCCESSFUL. He’s passed, soy, oat, cherry, strawberry, almond, and mixed tree nut. The two that have been UNsuccessful have been baked egg. You can read HERE about his first baked egg challenge when he had an anaphylactic reaction. Ironically, this time around it was almost an exact replay of his first baked egg challenge. The one exception, is that it happened so much faster this time.
At 9:20 I took a picture of Superman and I after his first “dose”, 1/4 of a cookie.
At 9:52 I took a picture of him right after he had his shot of epinephrine.
What happened in just 30 minutes, was something I want you to learn from, so you can see the progression of an anaphylactic reaction.
Superman first ate 1/4 of the chocolate chip cookie.
About 5 minutes later he got really sleepy. I didn’t think much of it at first (except a flashback to his first baked egg challenge), because he had trouble falling asleep the night before due to being excited and a bit nervous.
He started rubbing his eyes here and there.
He complained that his stomach was hurting, and thought he might have to go to the bathroom. My husband took him to the bathroom, since he hadn’t had a bowel movement in a couple of days (sorry, TMI….but part of this equation), but he didn’t have a bowel movement.
It was time for his vitals check (every 15 minutes during food challenges) from the nurse and the doctor. We alerted them to his sleepiness and the doctor said his heart rate was normal. Normally, our allergist said, heart rate would rise in the effect of lethargy from an anaphylactic reaction. Because of the stomach pain, sleepiness, and rubbing of the eyes we decided to wait an extra 15 minutes before we gave him the next “dose” of cookie, which would have been 1/4 of a cookie.
Superman went back to watching his movie, while we waited to see if he could have the next portion of cookie.
About 6-10 minutes later he was complaining of even more stomach pain. We convinced him to try the bathroom again, still truly thinking it could either be hunger (food challenges are done on an empty stomach, so he’d had no breakfast) or a bit of constipation.
As he stood up to go to the bathroom, his face got pale and he said something to the effect of, “I don’t feel good” and “I need water”. I got up to get the nurse or doctor, and as I walked out the door I could hear him vomiting behind me.
At that point the doctor was walking in and it was no question that he was experiencing an anaphylactic reaction as he vomited a second time. Epinephrine was given immediately and the reaction stopped in its tracks. I’m going to say that again. The REACTION STOPPED IN ITS TRACKS. I’m repeating that to remind you of the life-saving power of epinephrine and why you should carry TWO auto-injectors with you at all times. (I’m pretty passionate about spreading that news. Epinephrine has saved my child’s life 3 times now, and I’ll sing it’s praises until there’s a cure for food allergies.)
Why did we go ahead with this food challenge?
Our allergist, my husband, and I, felt he was really ready. His most recent blood test results were very low. Despite a small positive reaction on a skin test last year, everything still showed a green light for a BAKED egg challenge. According to this article on American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), those that can tolerate baked egg are more likely to outgrow their egg allergy and then tolerate regular egg.
His component testing results were:
Egg White specific IgE 0.75.
Ovalbumin is 0.89, and ovomucoid is 0.35.
Ovalbumin is the main protein found in egg white, making up 60-65% of the total protein.
Ovomucoid is a trypsin inhibitor found in raw egg white.
I found this article interesting as I was researching ovomucoid.
Do I regret doing the food challenge?
No. I can’t beat myself up over something that I made an educated decision on. I never would have agreed to it if there was any doubt in my mind. Our allergist was completely surprised that he didn’t pass, and I know he wouldn’t have suggested the challenge if he doubted that it would be successful. What I learned from this experience is that LETHARGY is his first symptom to an anaphylactic reaction upon ingesting baked egg. We are to use his auto-injector upon known ingestion of an allergen, or suspected ingestion with the symptom of lethargy.
What’s the takeaway?
Food allergies are unpredictable. Food allergies are different for everyone, including the type of reaction, and not excluding a person’s tolerance for an allergen. What I DON’T want you to do is compare your child’s blood test results to my child’s and make a prediction, or base decisions off of our experience. What I DO want you to do, is talk your board certified allergist about future food challenges and make a plan based on your set of allergies and testing results.
P.S. **Never do a food challenge at home.
The good thing is that he was able to still enjoy a birthday party that afternoon with friends at the local splash park. He took it easy while I watched him like a hawk for a biphasic reaction.
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or doctor and this website is not intended for medical advice. Please consult your board certified allergist for medical advice. Do not attempt food challenges at home. In an emergency, call 911.
Has your child had a an unsuccessful food challenge? What did you learn from it? Please comment below and share your thoughts!