I often wonder if the physical pain of allergies, ranging from skin or blood tests to shots, is worth the knowledge or attempts at reduction, particularly when I’m watching my son endure the pain. Unfortunately, I don’t have any cut and dry answers for you today. Rather, I believe it is a personal choice of whether to endure the pain or avoid it.
What I Wish I Knew….
Enduring pain for allergy testing and treatment is a personal decision. Having proper and sufficient medical information is important in coming to this decision.
We have made the choice to put our son through physician-directed testing on an as prescribed basis. This has typically been two times each year, but in the last two years or so, testing has slowed down. Allergy testing has been in two forms: skin prick test and blood draw.
Our Personal Reasons for Allergy Testing:
- We trust our son’s allergist. I am that mom who second guesses every bit of doctor advice. I am that woman who researches every prescription before taking it. I am that person who avoids medical procedures and treatment because I disagree with the doctor. But in most cases, after thorough discussion with my son’s allergist (she actually spends as much time with us as we need) , we have come to mutual decisions about his testing.
- My son’s allergies were so difficult for me to pinpoint when he was a nursing infant. Simply removing and reintroducing foods into my diet was not giving me the clear answers I needed. The pediatricians refusal to move on my suspicians of food allergy, promoted me to take the situation into my own hands. It wasn’t until my son (at 8 months of age) was given a skin test, leading to several food allergy diagnoses, and removal from my diet did we start to see some relief to him. I would not change that decision seven years later.
- While we haven’t seen him grow out of any allergies yet, we are still hopeful that he will. His numbers have been too high for me to simply give him haphazard food challenges at home. He must be tested by the doctor at least once a year to ensure his safety and to decide on the right options for him. So far, the results have been a total food avoidance regiment (excluding his current dairy immunotherapy — it’s going well!).
- As I mentioned in the previous point, food challenges are too risky for him to go into anaphylactic shock. His only option has been skin or blood tests.
My advice to you:
- Talk to an allergist. If possible, I recommend a pediatric allergist (for your child) or an adult allergist, as opposed to a general pediatrician or doctor. They are typically more up-to-date on the research and more familiar with the testing, results, prognosis, and treatment.
- It’s a personal decision. After consultation with your doctor, take into consideration your family dynamics and child’s disposition before coming to a decision.
I’ve focused today on the pain related to allergy testing, not allergy shots. After my son was tested for environmental allergens and discussing his current treatment regiment (over-the-counter allergy medication), we decided against pursuing allergy shots at this time. For this reason, I cannot speak to the pain involved in weekly allergy shots. If you do have experience, I encourage you to share that with us in the comments.
What has been your experience and/or opinion about enduring pain in the name of allergy testing and treatment?
If you have missed any of the posts, you can click on the series image in the sidebar or the link here: Life with Food Allergy series. The next topic in the series is: Facing the fact that there is no cure. I hope you’ll join us again.