The Peanut Allergy That Wasn’t

(Biel’s ® Gabriel Machado/flickr)

This striking post by Amy Lischko about her son discovering — at age 15 — that his lifelong peanut “allergy” was in fact simply a misdiagnosis, got me thinking.

Was this an actual misdiagnosis or did her son just “grow out” of the allergy? How many other kids are branded as allergic to peanuts or tree nuts (like my daughter) and go through their childhoods toting Epi-pens on every trip and to every classroom only to learn later that they’re not allergic after all? And is the concept of “outgrowing allergies” masking what was never really an allergy in the first place? Obviously, real allergies are, indeed, real, potentially life-threatening and often extremely scary. But for those with seemingly milder cases (my daughter has never had another reaction to cashews after the first one at 18 months and for the past 6 years has eaten countless items processed “in a facility with” with all types of tree nuts) is there widespread misdiagnosing going on here? I’d love informed comments on this.

In the meantime, here’s Amy’s story posted on HealthCare Savvy:

My son was diagnosed at age one as having life threatening allergies to peanuts. He was given skin tests after what appeared to be a reaction to peanut butter. The tests showed he was allergic to everything. So, we spent the next 14 years religiously keeping him away from all nuts. Being an underutilizer, I never took my son back for further testing as given his history of asthma, it was unlikely he would outgrow this allergy. And, he never had another reaction.

This summer (at age 15) my son went on a canoeing trip in the adirondacks…..miles away from any medical facility. To my shock, it was here that He decided he had had enough of his “special diet” and gave himself a “food challenge” by eating two peanuts. What happened? Nothing. Continue reading