Category: Outgrowing Your Allergy

Challenge testing – so far, so good!

My oldest son has been slowly challenge testing with baked milk products.  We have tried little bits of margarine (which contains whey) baked in cookies and the like.  So far, he has had NO symptoms.  No excessive gas, no hives, no rash, NOTHING:)  So happy.

The next thing we have tried was an imitation cheese.  It is lactose-free but contains casein in it.  I was hesitant at first, but decided that I would just keep a close watch on him.  Again, no reaction!!!  This makes me very happy.  Hopefully this means that if he were to get a trace amount of milk products while out and about (or if he travels abroad) then he will have no problems with it.  It is easy to spot cheese, sour cream, and the like, but not so easy to spot hidden dairy items like whey and casein.  I am thrilled that he has thus far passed the challenge tests.

The next test I plan on trying is baking 1/4 c of straight cow’s milk into something like pancakes with the rest using almond milk.  I may start with a smaller amount at first.  The last time I tried this, he broke out head to toe in a rash.  However, due to his current challenge test results, I think I am finally ready to try again.  Here’s hoping for success!!!

Challenge testing – it’s time:)

My son, who is now 15 1/2, has begged me to try the baked milk challenge test again.  When I baked 1/4 cup milk out of 2 c in corn bread a few years ago (giving him about a tablespoon of baked milk), he broke out in a rash all over, so I have been hesitant to do it again.  That said, I think it is time we tried again as he will soon be going to college and I want to make sure he is safe from hidden sources of dairy.  We are going to try baking in 1 T of regular milk out of 4 c of milk in pancakes, and then I’ll watch him closely to see if there is any reaction.  If there is no reaction, then we will slowly increase the amount of baked milk.  I’ll keep you posted as to his progress!

Ear infection returns…and yummy barbeque sauce:)

My second oldest son has been off dairy for many years due to a recommendation by our ENT. He had had ear infections every 6 weeks since he was a baby for eight years and had five ruptures in his left ear. He also had tubes put in twice. We have been very strict, however, as of late, my son has wanted to “test” dairy products. He is 13 years old now, and I felt that it would be okay to try trace amounts. Shortly after our move out west, he said that he couldn’t hear out of his right ear. It progressively got worse, until I finally was able to get him in to see a doctor. Sure enough, his right ear was infected. He also failed the hearing test in both ears. Strange, since we haven’t had problems for years. We go to see a new ENT on Monday. I will be curious to see what he says. I have no idea if it is related to the small amounts of dairy that we have permitted or if it is related to a new area (seasonal allergies?). Needless to say, I will take him off of dairy again until we are certain what has caused the infection. Fun times:)

On a side note, my husband made the BEST dairy-free barbecue sauce that I have ever tasted. I wasn’t able to take a photograph because we devoured it so quickly (there were NO leftovers). He cut the chicken up into small strips and cooked it in the sauce (covered in a skillet) until the chicken was no longer pink. Here it is:

1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c salsa (we used Medium heat picante)
4 T brown sugar
2 T white or cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. salt
dash hot pepper sauce or crushed red pepper
1/2 onion, diced and sauteed

Saute onion and set aside. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Add onion. Pour or brush over desired meat and cook until no longer pink.

Accidental milk challenge test with NO reaction

The last time I tried to do a challenge test with my oldest son (now 14) with 1/4 tsp. of baked milk, he broke out in a rash the next day all over. So, I decided to not re-test him for a while. Recently, I was making corn bread muffins for a friend with a rice allergy. Since I only had rice milk and cow’s milk on hand, I made her batch with the cow’s milk and ours with the rice milk. I set the pans of corn bread to the side and left the kitchen. My teenager, who love to “test” things, ate three slices of cornbread from the WRONG PAN. This gave him an equivalent of 3 T of cooked cow’s milk. I decided that it was a good challenge test, so rather than rushing to get Benadryl, I just watched him on and off for 24 hours. Nothing. No rash, no hives, no digestion issues, nothing. He is so excited that he wants to go straight for cheese (yeah right). I think that I may try once again to start introducing baked milk a little at at time. Although I am fine if he doesn’t have dairy the rest of his life, I hate worrying about if he’ll be okay in college or when he’s on his own. I also feel for his future wife. There are so many hidden sources of dairy, and he has had so many bad reactions in the past. It would be nice to see if he could at least tolerate those hidden sources and baked sources, even if he never is able to have cheese. (Although, he REALLY wants to have cheese:)). I’ll try to log in some of our testing and give updates. Yeah for cornbread!

Tolerance for Milk in Baked Goods?

This is a guest post by Walter A.  Thanks for the information!!!

Tolerance for Milk in Baked Goods?

Just a few years ago, researchers discovered that a significant portion of children with milk allergies
can tolerate baked goods containing milk. Dr. Hugh Sampson, from the Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York, led the study based on an intuition.

An allergy comes about because a person’s immune system overreacts to something that person is
sensitive to. Most foods are actually complicated mixtures of lots of substances. Milk is a mixture of
proteins, fats, sugars, and other things, in water. Eggs are also complex, with many things assembled
together to form the entire egg. Most allergy sufferers are reactive only to a specific thing in the
mixture, called an allergen, and an allergen is often a type of protein.

Proteins are one of the basic building blocks of life – the cells in your body (and in plants and animals
we eat) are like little machines, and proteins are the parts. There are millions of types of protein, and
each has it’s own special shape that helps it do particular things. Bacteria and viruses have their own
special proteins, and our immune systems have evolved to recognize these foreign proteins and attack
them. In allergic individuals, something goes wrong, and their immune systems over-react to proteins
that would normally be harmless, such as those found in milk.

Each protein is like a tiny (microscopic!) piece of chain which is twisted up to give it a particular
shape, like a coil, a tube, a dumbbell, or something else. When it gets heated up, the chain becomes
loose and untwists, changing the shape of the protein. This is one of the chemical changes that occurs
when you bake things, and the reason that egg whites become solid and white when they are cooked.
Not all proteins change shape when heated, but many of those in milk do.

Because Dr. Sampson knew this, his research group tested milk allergy sufferers with
milk-containing baked goods, including muffins and waffles. They found that 75% of milk allergy
sufferers were able to tolerate them without any allergic reaction. Even more interesting, after several
months of eating baked goods, many of these people lost some sensitivity to raw milk itself, suggesting
that the immune system of these people could be trained by exposure to milk in the cooked products.

The reasons not all people can tolerate milk in baked goods are twofold:

– Some allergic people’s immune systems react to the protein whether it is in its original shape or not.
In this case, heating it does not help.

– Not everyone is allergic to the same milk allergen, and some of these milk allergens do not change
shape when they are heated.

However, many allergic people will tolerate baked goods, so this is very exciting news, and may lead
to research that helps other kinds of allergies. It is very important that you talk to your allergist before
attempting to expose an allergic person to baked products in this way. They can help with allergy tests,
and can ensure that the introduction is done in a safe way.

Guest Post by: Walter A.


Nowak-Wegrzyn A, Bloom KA., Sicherer SH, Shreffler WG, Noone S, Wanich N, Sampson HA.
(2008) “Tolerance to extensively heated milk in children with cow’s milk allergy”, Journal of Allergy
and Clinical Immunology 122(2):342-347.

Wendy’s Honey BBQ Chicken

We went to Wendy’s the other night, and my son (now 13) decided that he wanted to test the Wendy’s Honey BBQ Chicken wings.  The menu said that they didn’t contain any dairy in the batter, however, they were cooked in the same oil as items that contained dairy.  Since he tested so low with his most recent allergy test, I felt that it would be a safe for him to try them.  About 30 minutes or so after dinner, he broke out in a few hives underneath his arm and on his chest as well as a small eczema rash on his chest.  I gave him some Benadryl just in case the reaction spread quickly and sent him to bed.  It looks like we need to go back to being 100% strict, at least for now:)

***On a side note, he had a small bite of peanut brittle the other day with no apparent reaction.  It had butter as one of the ingredients.  (He thought it had no dairy in it.)  I’m not sure why he reacts to some things and why other things don’t seem to affect him.  I just hope that he can figure out how severe his allergy still is before going on to college, etc.***

Possible good news – accidental milk with no reactions:)

We were at the airport and I bought my kids some organic protein bars and orange juice to help tide them over until I could find them something more substantial.  It’s always harder finding allergy friendly foods when you’re both in a hurry and in a new place with tons of people.  Because of that, I was thrilled when I found these bars.  One of them said, “Dairy-free” on the front and the other one said, “Wheat free.”  I grabbed both and quickly read over the back to make sure that they both were safe (meaning “dairy-free”).  My oldest son took the “Wheat free” one by accident, though I thought both were safe.  After eating half of it, he said, “Mom, this is too good to be dairy-free.  Are you sure it doesn’t have any milk?”  This is not what I wanted to hear just minutes prior to boarding the airplane.  I grabbed the wrapper, just in case, and re-read the ingredients.  What I thought said, “almond butter” actually said, “almond, butter…”  I wasn’t entirely sure what to do.  I knew that the doctor had given us clearance to test baked milk, but the last time we had tried the smallest amount, my son broke out all over in a rash that itched for weeks.  I decided to keep the Benadryl handy (why did I forget my epi-pen???) and watch him closely on the plane, as he had only had a few bites.

Amazingly, he had NO REACTION!!!!  This is my son who has been anaphylactic to milk his entire life (he’s almost 13).  This is the boy who breaks out in hives and is sent to the hospital by simply eating a roll that had real butter accidentally brushed on top or a handful of the wrong popcorn.  This is the mom who yells out loud at a potluck dinner, “Don’t use that spoon in my chili!” for fear of cross-contamination (quieting the entire room, much to my embarrassment…but that’s another story:))  This is also the mom that cried when he went to scout camp for fear of a leader not getting there in time if he had a reaction (I “grilled” the EMT the night before he left.)  I’m not sure how much “butter” he actually had, however, I feel excited at the thought that just maybe he can once again qualify for the baked milk challenge.  Even more exciting is the possibility that perhaps when he goes off to college, he won’t have to struggle quite so hard in regards to his food allergy.  Of course we’ll roll with the punches, but the possibility of him outgrowing his allergy is a beautiful thought:)

Milk Allergy, Lactose Intolerance and Possible Cures

This is a guest post from Ashley M. Jones.  Thanks Ashley for sharing your insights!!!
Milk Allergy, Lactose Intolerance and Possible Cures
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over three million children in the USA suffer from food allergies, and with milk allergy being the most common kind of food allergy, you can imagine the number of children who are plagued by it. Most people who are not familiar with milk allergies tend to confuse them with lactose intolerance – the two are very different in that:
·      Lactose intolerance is a condition where you cannot digest lactose (found in dairy) because your body does not produce the enzyme lactase while milk allergy refers to the adverse effects of your immune system to casein, a protein found in milk and other dairy products.
·      Lactose intolerance causes discomfort in the form of cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea and dizziness while a milk allergy causes more serious symptoms like skin rash, nasal congestion, bloody stools, and even anaphylactic shock.
·      A milk allergy is life-threatening while lactose intolerance is not.
·      Milk allergies develop in childhood while lactose intolerance develops when you’re an adult.
·      Children grow out of milk allergies, but adults with lactose intolerance find that it becomes worse as time goes by because the amount of lactase produced by the body decreases as we grow older.
Whether you’re allergic to milk or suffer from lactose intolerance, you must ensure that you don’t touch dairy products at all. Besides this, it’s best you stay away from other products that contain casein and lactose, like dairy creamers and whiteners, cereals, processed meats, mayonnaise, breath mints, potato crisps, protein bars and powders, salad dressings, baby formula, dessert toppings, and even in a few OTC drugs, cosmetics, creams, soaps, and vitamin and other nutritional supplements.
There is good news on the horizon for parents and children who suffer from milk allergy – the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Duke University are jointly conducting a study that could find a cure for milk allergy. The technique, which is known as sublingual immune therapy (SLIT), involves placing a tiny amount of milk protein under the tongue of children who suffer from milk allergies. The amount is increased every day, and over a period of time, the children are supposed to become immune to the allergen. SLIT differs from oral immunotherapy (where small amounts of milk are ingested) in that the milk protein is placed under the tongue rather than ingested – apparently, this makes a difference in the way children react to the protein. According to the study, the children who took part were able to tolerate milk protein considerably well in just three short months. 
This guest post is contributed by Ashley M. Jones, who writes on the topic of pharmacy tech certification . She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Oral immunotherapy

Just thought I’d pass this information along:)


News Tips from the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy Of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
February 28, 2010
Feb. 26-March 2, NEW ORLEANS
-Oral immunotherapy study at Hopkins Children’s shows it works

Children with egg allergies who consume increasingly higher doses of egg protein — the very nutrient they react to — appear to gradually overcome their allergies, tolerating eggs better over time and with milder symptoms, according to research conducted at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere.
The findings from a multi-center trial are to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Feb. 26 through March 2.
Previous research at Hopkins Children’s showed that the same approach, known as oral immunotherapy, can be used successfully to treat children with milk allergies. Some of the children in the milk allergy study overcame their condition completely, and many experienced less severe allergic symptoms as a result of the therapy.
Now, researchers are reporting similarly encouraging results in children with egg allergies.
“Just as we saw in our patients with milk allergies before, oral immunotherapy for children with egg allergies works in the same way by slowly retraining the immune system to tolerate the allergens that caused allergic reactions,” says study investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’s.
Researchers caution that confirming these early results requires long-term monitoring of the current patients and enrolling more children in the ongoing trials. They also caution that oral immunotherapy should be implemented only by a trained pediatric allergist.
In the 11-month study of 45 children ages 5 to 18, researchers gave 40 patients increasingly higher doses of egg whites during multiple food challenges conducted in a clinic and under a doctor’s supervision, while 15 children received placebo, “dummy” food that looks like egg whites but contains no egg protein. All children received higher and higher doses of either placebo or actual egg protein in the course of the 11 months.
At the end of the study, during a final food challenge, more than half of the children who had been consuming eggs (21 out of 40) could tolerate 5 grams of eggs without having an allergic reaction. None of the children who received placebo were able to tolerate eggs during the final food challenge.
When symptoms did occur, investigators say, they were mild to moderate and involved mostly itching and swelling of the mouth and throat.
Children who consumed eggs also had lower blood levels of IgE antibodies — immune markers that rise during an allergic reaction — and a significant drop in the levels of egg-specific basophils, a type of white blood cell that multiplies during an allergic reaction.
Food allergies have been steadily rising in the last decade and are becoming harder to outgrow, research shows. An estimated 2 percent to 3 percent of U.S. children have egg allergies.
Placing small amounts of milk protein under the tongues of children who are allergic to milk can help them overcome their allergies, according to the findings of a small study at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Duke University.
The findings will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The approach, known as SLIT (sublingual immune therapy), involves giving children small but increasingly higher doses of the food they are allergic to until their immune systems “learn” to tolerate the food without triggering an allergic reaction or triggering only mild symptoms. Previous research from Hopkins Children’s showed that a similar approach known as oral immunotherapy can successfully treat children with milk allergies. Unlike SLIT, oral immunotherapy involves consuming milk protein rather than merely placing it under the tongue.
The current study suggests that both approaches could be effective in treating milk allergies in most patients, authors say, but that oral immunotherapy appears to be slightly more effective than SLIT. The investigators caution that the results are preliminary and that the two approaches must be compared in larger groups before their equal efficacy can be confirmed.
While both approaches work by exposing the patient to progressively higher doses of the allergenic food, SLIT is done with lower doses—and therefore with lower risk for a severe allergic reaction. Researchers caution that both therapies can lead to violent allergic reactions in some patients, and should be always done under a doctor’s supervision.
  “We are very excited to see that both approaches can achieve significant improvement in children with milk allergies, but we continue to see slightly better tolerance in children on oral immunotherapy,” says lead investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’s. “Nonetheless, SLIT emerges as a new, if slightly less powerful, weapon in our arsenal.”
In the study, all 30 children ages 6 to 17 were treated with milk drops under the tongue (SLIT) for several weeks until they built up their tolerance. Once minimum tolerance was achieved, the children were divided into two groups. Ten children continued their SLIT treatment while the other 20 consumed milk powder by mouth (OIT). After three months of treatment with increasingly higher doses of milk protein, all children underwent a food challenge, which involved drinking milk under a doctor’s supervision.
All children in the “by mouth” group were able to drink on average seven times more milk without an allergic reaction or with mild symptoms compared to their baseline milk challenge before the treatment. Nine of the 10 children treated with milk drops under the tongue, were able to do so.
Children in both groups experienced allergic symptoms equally often during the treatment. In the “under the tongue” group, 33 percent of the 3,619 doses of milk administered caused symptoms, compared to 35 percent of the 3,773 doses in the “by mouth” group. Most symptoms were mild, with the most common ones being mouth and throat itching and irritation. Abdominal and respiratory symptoms occurred very infrequently, the researchers report.

First attempt at adding milk

On Saturday I made some cornbread for my kids and decided it was time to try the oral baked challenge test. I added 1/4 c cow’s milk and 1 1/4 c almond milk to the batter. My son had one large piece of cornbread. I didn’t tell him that there was any dairy in the bread so that I could do a blind test with him. The next day, he came to me and said, “Mom, look at this rash.” He broke out in an eczema rash on parts of his arm, the backs of his legs, and on his chest. He also said that he was really itchy. I was hoping for no reaction since his blood work came back so low, however, it looks like he is still sensitive to dairy. I will be calling the doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital to advise on how to proceed. My boys who get ear infections have had no adverse reactions that I can tell. Perhaps they will be able to tolerate baked milk?