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Author Topic: Explanation?  (Read 4301 times)

Description: Trying to understand tests

Offline Incata

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« on: August 07, 2016, 03:20:14 AM »

I am new here and cannot seem to get any decent response from my allergist.

I am based in Australia and the standards of healthcare are very backwards compared to where I came from (the UK) and the USA where I have previously worked.  I saw the standards in the US when my husband got sick whilst we were on holiday so I can say with some confidence that your healthcare system is about 20 years ahead of where we live now.  I just explain this to give background about why I am struggling to get answers.

I was diagnosed at the age of 29 with allergies to sesame seeds and codeine, whilst I was living in the UK.  However, I don't react to either skin prick tests or blood tests, which would imply that I am not allergic to them.  However, when the hospital decided to do food/drug challenge tests in hospital, I went anaphylactic on both occasions.

I then moved to Australia and developed an allergy to Penicillin.  I was in hospital with pneumonia, they gave it to me and I started by vomiting, going flushed and then struggling to breathe.  They did it 2 days running (as they thought I reacted to a different drug that I was given at the same time) and the second night I spent in the High Dependency Unit.

I was then referred to the allergy department of the hospital.  The doctor told me he did not believe his colleagues as to what had happened.  He injected me with the penicillin under the skin.  There was no hive but I went into anaphylactic shock within a few minutes - flushed, swollen airway, struggling to breathe, unable to swallow.  The doctors refused (unknown as to why) to do blood tests whilst I was in anaphylactic shock, to prove I was having a reaction.

I don't understand why I don't react to skin prick tests or blood tests, yet if I ingest the items or they are injected under my skin I react.  I also only flush red all over and don't come up with hives when I am reacting.  Could this be something other than anaphylaxis?  Can anyone help?

Offline GoingNuts

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Re: Explanation?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2016, 08:15:17 AM »
Hi Incata!

Sounds like you've had a rough go of it.  :console:

My son's allergist always said that he doesn't treat test results, he treats people - which was his way of saying that tests may be helpful, but they are not perfect, and should only be used along with a clinical history.  For example, when he was younger, my DS tested negative to milk, but clearly reacted.  So his allergist considered him to be allergic to milk (outgrown, fortunately).  He also tested positive to things he had been eating with no problems, so he said to ignore those tests.

Hives are not always present during anaphylaxis, contrary to what many people think.  And that can make it hard to convince others that you are having a reaction.  My DS also didn't hive up from milk, but flushed like you describe. 

I don't have an answer to why you don't react to skin pricks or blood tests, and I'm so sorry that you have having a hard time finding competent medical care.  I hope you can find someone to give you answers, and in the meantime perhaps consider getting a MedicAlert bracelet.

Best of luck to you!
"Speak out against the madness" - David Crosby

Offline lakeswimr

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Re: Explanation?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 07:42:33 PM »
Testing is not perfect, unfortunately.  Somewhere a little less than 10% of people who are allergic to food will test negative even though they are allergic.  So, you fall in that group it seems.  I'd find a new allergist who believes you if you feel your current one does not.  Reactions are more important than test results. 

There are a good % of people who don't get hives or don't always get hives.  Reactions without hives tend to be more serious as people often delay treatment as a result of the lack of hives.  Reactions can and do change, though.  So, future reactions could be very, very different than past ones. 

Offline Puddles

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Re: Explanation?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 09:10:24 PM »
My usual reactions included hives.  When I had an anaphylactic reaction I did nit have hives.