Our son has allergies. Less than he used to, but more than we would like! (To be clear – we’re aiming for zero allergies…)
He used to be allergic to over a dozen things.
Now we’re down to the last few.
And last week, as part of his allergy journey, our son underwent a Baked Milk Challenge under medical supervision in the Children’s Hospital.
This is typically a stressful time for many families, ours included.
We knew that our son would be consuming something that we’ve been diligently avoiding for the last 9 years.
Plus, he hasn’t passed this challenge in the previous in-hospital attempts.
But, we were also excited at the opportunity and possibility of passing it this time, so it was with emotions that we walked into the hospital.
In preparation we had talked about it a lot before hand – what would happen before, during, and after the test, including the possible range of outcomes.
So what does happen in an oral food challenge test in hospital?
First – If a skin prick test has not been performed in the previous 3 months, then this will be performed for the specific food to be tested.
Depending on the size of the reaction (aka ‘wheal’) the staff will decide to continue will then decide to proceed or not.
Second – The staff will ask about health in the previous week. If they’ve been unwell they may respond differently. Also, recent use of medications (steroids, anti-histamines or adrenaline) may require the test to be postponed as they may alter the result of the challenge.
Third – Vital signs will be measured – e.g. blood pressure, oxygen levels to ensure baseline levels are within normal ranges and as a comparison in case things do not go to plan.
The Baked Milk challenge in the hospital involves close supervision of the ingestion of a muffin baked with butter and milk.
*Note: a plain muffin is given, not a blueberry muffin! 😉
Fourth – Once the go-ahead is given, then the first serve of the food to be tested will be given.
For us last week, it was a small slice of one baked milk muffin (containing milk and butter).
Your child will be monitored for any symptoms of a reaction. For our son, the cough seems to be his first reaction for an allergy.
If all is going okay (which it did), he was given another slice of muffin to consume every 20 minutes.
We were then monitored for another few hours after the entire muffin was consumed to ensure there was no other reactions.
We were then discharged home with clear written and verbal instructions, including phone numbers to call if we encountered any issues.
For the following 7 days we were to follow up with further muffin eating and assessment diary – click here to find out what happened next…