The following is the second post in series on food allergies and their treatment at Children’s Hospital Boston. Written by Joshua Feblowitz, a research assistant at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and a freelance writer for Children’s, the series chronicles Joshua’s severe food allergy history and his life-long treatment at Children’s. In this entry, Joshua recounts a recent test conducted at Children’s to determine whether or not his body has naturally outgrown his severe egg allergy.
7:00 AM: It’s the day of my food challenge and I wake up (naturally) from a dream about breakfast. I get ready and then hop on the green line headed towards Longwood Medical Area.
7:45 AM: I arrive at Children’s Hospital and head up to the Center for Ambulatory Treatment and Clinical Research (CAT/CR) on the 4th floor of the Farley building. I’m a little bit nervous (and also hungry, no breakfast before a food challenge!).
I haven’t taken my regular allergy medications for over a week and I’m feeling itchy and sneezy already. For many years, I’ve taken three different medications each and every day for my asthma and allergies. However, some of them could mask the initial symptoms of a severe reaction so it’s better to perform the test off medications.
As instructed, I have my EpiPen with me. There will also be Benadryl and other medications on hand just to be safe. Because of my negative blood tests and skin test, I know that everything should be OK, but I’m still feeling apprehensive.
A recent study published in Pediatrics shows that when given in small, graded doses, flu vaccines made from chicken embryos are safe for most children with egg allergies. The study also found that skin test done prior to vaccination, which in the past have been used to test a egg allergenic child’s potential for reaction, are unnecessary–saving time and money for both patients and vaccine providers. Erica Chung, MD, a Children’s hospital staffer and co-author of the study recently took time to explain her findings for Thrive.
From the 1918 “Spanish flu,” to the 1957 “Asian flu,” and more recently, the “swine flu,” the influenza virus continues to emerge as a major public health concern. But with the development of medical advancements like the influenza vaccine program, we have seen a drop in the number of hospitalization and clinic visits during influenza season. Because the vaccine is developed in chicken embryos, however, there is some hesitancy about vaccinating egg-allergic children, despite the vaccine’s many benefits. …