Unfortunately medicine is still far from the Star Trek tricorder stage, at which you can just wave your iPhone over someone and tell what they’re allergic to, but the next best thing is specific IgE testing. We got my daughter V’s results back today. I found the process and fascinating and the outcome illuminating.
IgE are the antibodies responsible for allergy. The IgE results we got consisted of an antibody quantity in units/ml (whatever “units” are), plus a “class” (from 0 to VI) which indicates the degree of allergy. Class can range from “negative” to “extremely high positive.”
Now, I need to talk to an allergist to figure out what is meant by “class”. It seems to be a value that a clinician makes a guess at based on the IgE measurement and the patient’s medical history and, possibly, the allergen in question. From what I can tell the class reported can vary depending on the assay and the person doing the estimating.
V is apparently moderately allergic to peanut (3.7 U/ml, class III) and almond (2.5 U/ml, class II) so tree nuts are still out.
She’s allergic to milk (8.3 U/ml, class III), which we know all too well, since only last week I gave her milk by accident and she spent the next half hour barfing on the kitchen floor.
Quite a surprise to find out was that her highest antibody level is to sesame (14.7 U/ml, class III). I once gave her sesame sticks once and she vomited. I gave her a sesame bagel and she said her stomach hurt. But she’s been happily eating pressed sheets of nori (seaweed) that apparently contain sesame oil. Anyway, from now on: no sesame!
And here’s the funny thing. Along with her brother, she gets horse-riding lessons every two weeks. She comes back from them all blotchy in the face. We thought it might be from grass pollen, but on a whim my wife had her tested for allergy to “horse dander.” And she tested positive (3.4 U/ml, class II)!
But no allergy to rye grass pollen.
Allergic to horses. Who knew. Well, that ought to be an easy one to avoid. And it’ll give me a great excuse when she starts demanding a pony for her birthday.