Goodbye Dogs, Hello Nuts

We went back to the allergist this week to discuss our son’s blood test results. Overall, we were very happy with the news. No major changes to the way we eat or shop for now, but we’re making some slight modifications. Hopefully we can make some major changes later this year.

Test results in the United States had confirmed our son’s milk allergy and indicated an egg allergy. As a result, our allergist advised us to avoid peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. To be on the safe side, we assumed our son was allergic to these foods until more testing could be done. Now that we have results from both a skin and blood test here in Switzerland, here’s what we know:

Food Skin test Blood test Recommended next steps
Peanuts No reaction Negative Introduce products that “may contain traces” of peanuts, sesame and tree nuts, except almonds. If all goes well during the coming weeks and months, then we can start introducing these foods as actual ingredients (i.e., cookies with hazelnuts).
Sesame No reaction Negative
Tree nuts No reaction, except almonds Negative (the test did not include almonds)
Eggs Moderate reaction Positive for one egg protein; negative for another Schedule a food challenge for baked egg at a nearby children’s hospital in the coming months.
Milk Major reaction Positive for both milk proteins, but the result was lower than we expected Schedule a food challenge for milk at a nearby children’s hospital in six months, when our son is 2 years old.

In addition to getting more detailed information about food allergens, we learned that our son is very allergic to dogs. The blood test results for dogs indicates a level nearly three times that of his milk or egg allergy. Our allergist in the United States had already told us before that we shouldn’t own a dog or other pets because of the connection between food allergies and asthma.

Now that we know about his allergy to dogs, our Swiss allergist said that if we owned a dog, there’s a good chance he would develop asthma. Honestly, this diagnosis has helped determine the cause for a few of the mysterious hives he’s had. One outbreak happened after returning from a friend’s house where the boys played with a dog. I had no idea what could have caused the hives, since we hadn’t eaten anything for hours, so it must have been the dog.

Despite the bad news about the dog allergy, I feel overwhelmingly relieved about these results. I keep reading about the severity of peanut allergies in the United States and terrifying stories about families affected by these allergies. My son may have an almond allergy, but he doesn’t have—and hopefully will never develop—anaphylaxis to peanuts. Plus, we received encouraging news about his milk and egg allergies that indicate their severity may be lessening (i.e., he’s growing out of them).

Reintroducing “Traces of” Products

For our first products with the “may contain traces” label for sesame, I went to Coop and bought a baguette and some corn-based crackers. My son ate the bread for his snack today without any reaction, so we’ll continue to do these very low-risk food experiments at home for the coming weeks and months. Hopefully, this trend will continue—as the test results indicate it should—so I can start cooking with peanuts, tree nuts and sesame again. In the meantime, I just tried the “gaufres au maïs” or corn waffles, and they taste like rice crackers made with popcorn. I may need to add these to my updated Swiss snack list

Coop's Baguette and Gaufres au Mais (corn waffles)

Coop’s Baguette and Gaufres au Maïs (corn waffles)

Bon week-end! Hope you’re having a great weekend. More recipes and news next week…

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6 thoughts on “Goodbye Dogs, Hello Nuts

  1. Maura says:

    Heddi, this is good news! My 22 year old stepson with all the allergies (milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts (but all other nuts seem okay, though I’ve never had him try pine nuts), beef, pork) just moved back in with us so I am getting used to cooking for him again. He has outgrown so many more allergies so we too are grateful. He also is allergic to most animals, some other things in the environment (certain grasses, shrubs) and has asthma — but luckily has only had two anaphylactic episodes in 22 years. My thoughts are with you all!

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Hi Maura! Thanks for your support. Great hearing from you. I’m always amazed at families facing so many more challenges than we have when it comes to food allergies.Glad that you’re son has outgrown many of his allergies–I can’t imagine. Good luck getting back into the cooking routine. Thinking about you too! 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    A BIG CONGRATS!!! The food allergy testing was great news! Sorry about the dog allergy…that’s definitely a bummer. It’s always nice to get some answers. Hopefully the dog allergy explains the mystery hives. I’m excited to hear about your continued food introductions. I’m on cloud nine for you!! 🙂

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