Thursday, May 08, 2008

All You Ever Needed To Know About Allergic Rhinitis (And Then Some)

I've mentioned here before that Eldest has horrible seasonal allergies. Finally, today we saw a specialist for allergy testing on him. (I had made the appointment in February!) Eldest had to go 48 hours before his appointment without taking his Allegra (the latest in the long line of prescriptions we've tried to quell his symptoms, without much success) and was MISERABLE. We didn't even send him to school yesterday because he was so stuffy/sneezy/puffy.

Thankfully the appointment was at 7:30 a.m. I missed work to take him. My rationale was that Hubby passes out isn't that great around needles.

The first thing the nurse did was to have him lay on his belly with his shirt off and stick him in the back 11 times (!) with different allergens (ragweed, pollen, mold, dust mites, etc.) and then we had to wait 15 minutes to see how he reacted. He kind of flinched when she was poking him, but it wasn't that bad. She said he would start to itch and that certainly was true.

After 15 minutes, it was obvious which pokes he had a reaction to. These turned into angry raised welts surrounded by bright redness. The 4 that were the worst were (not shockingly) ragweed, tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen.

Next, the nurse poked him about 6 times in his upper left arm. They injected him with the 4 that he had a reaction to, plus animal dander and dust. These injections were pretty bad. She had to get the needle in there just so in order to make a bubble. Unfortunately, Eldest has pretty tough skin, so she was kinda sorta really jamming the needle in his arm. He didn't cry, but was very uncomfortable. As was his mother having to hold him and watch. Yuck.

The conclusion?

Eldest has seasonal allergies.


Our course of action?

Immunotherapy. In other words, allergy shots. Unfortunately, it takes 6 months for them to take effect (who knew??). So even if we started him now, he wouldn't even be covered for this fall allergy season. So we will start the allergy injections in September, which will cover him for next spring.

In the meantime?

A new prescription. For Singulair. This is the only one we haven't yet tried (since we've already exhausted the Benedryl, Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. Not all at once, of course....Hi! Have you met my son Zombie?)

Oh, and also new prescriptions for Nasonex and Patanol.

I'm relieved. We have an official diagnosis and a solution. (And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps the Singulair will be miraculous and he won't actually need to start the allergy injections in September.) But I'm kicking myself that we waited until he was 6-1/2 years old to take him. Looking back, I wish we had done it YEARS earlier. But we kept holding out hope that SOMETHING would work. If either of the other 2 boyz start showing symptoms, my ass will certainly be at that specialist's office PRONTO.

Anyway, I think Eldest is going to look sooooo cute with his nasal spray and eye drops tucked oh so carefully in his pocket protector. When we let him out of his BUBBLE, that is.


Judy said...

We did that allergy testing - - only to discover that Tyler's not allergic to ANYTHING - his is vasomotor rhinitis - inflamation of the sinuses due to the neverending cold his poor little immune system can't shake. I'll tell you what, though - saline mist has made a WORLD of difference for all of us - even the allergy-prone members of our household. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll said...

My sister had allergy shots for YEARS when we were growing up and it made her life MUCH easier. She had severe allergies, which it sounds like your son does, too, and the shots helped her like no medication ever could.

I am sure it will be tough, but I think even my sister would say they were worth it. And by the time she was a teenager, the shots were once a month I think, rather than the once a week when they first started.

Either way...good luck!

Wendy said...

He's tougher than I was. I bawled like a baby and I was 17! Shots helped me for a while and then we moved so they weren't needed anymore. But they did bring relief. I hope everything works out

MadMad said...

My son is on Singulair, Claritin, some nosespray (probably Nasonex, I can't remember) AND eyedrops. We start him in early April, in hopes of building up some sort of preventative base... and then May hits and it's all over anyway. Poor little guys! It's awful! Zaditor is a new kind of eyedrop that just went OTC last year - it's awesome (once a day, doesn't sting); and, on the off chance they didn't tell you, have your son take the Singulair before bed, which they've discovered works best. Good luck!

Loralee Choate said...

I totally relate to this post. My son has horrible allergies and asthma. I think we are going to do shots in September, too.

Unknown said...

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Singulair only works on about 70% of it's users. It's some kind of enzyme issue, where some people just don't have what it takes for Singulair to work. I've taken it for about 6 YEARS now, every freaking day all year round. Plus Allegra, Nasonex, Advair, and Teargen eyedrops. All of these combined keep my allergies from being overwhelming. But they're still bad.

I hope your son has better luck with the Singulair than my kids. It didn't work for them at all!

Deb said...

Awww... what a trooper!! (I mean you and him, of course.)

Greens and Pinks said...

I have terrible seasonal allergies and I suspect my 2 year old does, too. The days I feel the worst I am seeing all the signs/symptoms in her. Poor kid. I think we have a similar trip to yours in our future!

Elaine said...

Ahhh, allergy shots. They are certainly a drag. And they take FOREVER to work. Of course, I haven't been incredibly faithful in getting mine each week, but I thought they'd be working better by now (over a year). Good luck! And power to the nerds!

Amy said...

Oh my gosh - so many needles in one visit! Yikes. I hope the new meds work. I'm suffering today with minor seasonal allergies and I'm completely miserable. I can't imagine having a bad case.

Janet said...

Poor little dude. My eldest is allergy boy, too, although his seasonal allergies just cause his asthma to flare up, which is easily controlled.

A friend of mine had allergy shots for a few years and I wondered why he kept going. Then last year? They finally kicked in. Success. I hope your little guy gets some relief from them, too.

k e r r y said...

We had to take my daughter to the allergist recently - it was heartbreaking to see them sticking those needles into her skin. Luckily she is not allergic to any foods or dust and mold - those would be so hard to deal with. She is highly allergic to cats horses trees grass and molding leaves... so basically if she spends any time outside she's feeling the pain. I don't think we are going to go for the shots yet though. Her symptoms aren't so bad that I feel like she needs to go for the shots yet. Did you doctor say if your son would grow out of it or will it just get worse?

Alex Elliot said...

I had no idea that it took that long for allergy shots to work. After my older son had a bunch of problems with his ears resulting in ear tubes, when my younger one starting showing the slightest problem we whisked him right off to the ENT.

Meredith said...

It's so hard to sit back and watch. We had our eldest tested like that when he was only 11 months old, only to be told he probably wasn't old enough to really show any reaction yet! Glad you got a diagnosis. Hope the meds work.

Unknown said...

Sorry you have to wait so long to get the allergy shots for your son. But, it will be worth it. I had a friend who was allergic to everything your son is allergic to and then some. She tried everything for over 10 years, and finally allergy shots made her feel like a new person. I used to sell a competitive product to Nasonex and just be prepared that he may not like taking a nasal spray at first, but make sure he takes it every day. Some people think you only use it once you have the symptoms, but it is really too late if you wait until then. Instead, use it as a preventative treatment. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The Nasonex? It rocks.

Lindsay said...

I'm like your son. I'm allergic to everything. When I did the 46 scratch tests they didn't even bother with the arm pricks I was so allergic.

I've been taking Singulair since 2005 and I give it RAVE reviews. I also have taken Nasonex with it, and the combination did really well with me, so I hope it does for your son. I'm glad you got him the help and that he feels better soon!


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