Go Find a Rock Star Allergist

I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this post, but I’m not running for office, so I’ll just be honest.  Most doctors know nearly nothing about pediatric food allergy. There, I said it.  I’m talking about your family doc, your pediatrician, your PA, and probably your local allergist. The reason I know this, is because I finished 4 years of med school and 3 years of pediatric training, and learned nearly 90% of my food allergy knowledge from my children.  The other 10% is because my residency director was a pediatric allergist, and I did an elective with her.  In the office, I have new patients transfer in with enough poor food allergy management to make your head spin…so it’s not just my educational programs that were lacking.
When you combine a general lack of knowledge with the sexy well-advertised ImmunoCAP RAST testing, it’s pretty much a disaster for families in the way of false positive results.  So my Mother’s Day advice is this: If your child has been diagnosed with more than 2 food allergies, or has been diagnosed with allergies to foods that were previously eaten without severe reaction, or has been diagnosed on blood test only without history of exposure…get yourself a Rock Star Allergist for a second opinion. Your regular doctor shouldn’t care, your regular allergist shouldn’t care. They are not the ones cooking.
So how do you find such a Rock Star?  Your best bet is to find the biggest and most reputable children’s hospital in your state and look for their pediatric food allergy program.  Yes, you might have to drive a few hours. Yes, you might have to hassle with your insurance a bit.  But most allergy appointments are yearly, or maybe twice a year affairs. It’s worth the effort to know your child’s true allergy, for certain.  The other added bonus is having a connection to the research that comes out of these big children’s hospitals.  Because when they start working cures (I’m talking to you Greenhawt), you’ll be right there in line.  We’re on our way to Ann Arbor today to see Dr. McMorris and Dr. Greenhawt, with appropriate allergy-friendly cookies as well.  Happy Mother’s Day!

6 Responses to Go Find a Rock Star Allergist

  1. Kelly @ In Everything says:

    thanks for this encouragement….

    I am in total agreement of what doctors and even allergist don't know…. we've proven them wrong time after time!! ANd it's sad, but I really only visit the allergist to get the EPI renewed since my daughter's peanut allergy scares me! Which my allergist originally told me she COULDN'T have??? she did.

    WE do have a good allergist practice at a children's research hospital 2+hours away. I know we should just change practices… after this post, maybe we will!

  2. 3 Moms says:

    We have a ROCK STAR allergist in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He teaches at the university here as well as has his practice. I have never doubted him. That said, I've also done A LOT of my own research and learned from the experiences if others. He listens to me and we always come to a plan that we both agree on. I also have to say we have multiple food allergies (dairy, egg, peanut, sesame and kiwi) and my daughter still has FPIES to rice ( but has grown out of wheat, oats, barley, dairy and soy)!!! My one son' allergies were diagnosed early but new ones keep cropping up. My older son had his first ANA reaction two weeks before starting grade one! Talk about stressful start of the school year for me! Anyway, I did really just want to say that it is worth it to have a great allergist, I know!

  3. R. Meyers says:

    I just found this comment and I have to say I really agree with the advice to seek another opinion if your child's food allergy has not been diagnosed using reaction history, skin tests and IGE blood tests to ALL confirm the allergy. As our family knows, a severe food allergy is life-altering to the child and entire family. It is imperative to be sure. I do think the beginning of your post that that implies there are not doctors in West Michigan who can provide effective allergy diagnosis or treatment is overreaching. I definitely agree that a second opinion is a wise choice, but, there are quality physicians and allergist here as well. There is also a new non-profit to the Rockford are dedicated to serving the needs of food allergic families in West Michigan. One of our objectives is to address the inconsistencies among the medical community as well. I appreciate your experience with this topic and look forward to reading more postings.

  4. FoodAllergyMom says:

    I know this is a shot in the dark but I'm desparate…Any advice on how to find a doctor that knows ANYTHING about Human Rumination Syndrome?

  5. foodallergychronicles says:

    My eldest son has had multiple food allergies since childhood.(dairy,egg,beef,sesame,fish,shellfish,peanut/tree nuts,raspberries and possible mustard) My younges is allergic to peanuts/tree nuts. Experience has taught me to be my own advocate for my children. One cannot trust in doctor's alone. We are on our third allergist and dermatologist. I am pleased to say that we have maintained our pediatrician throughout. Finding a doctor to listen to your individual and unique cas and treat you accordingly is key. Susan H @ the food allergy chronicles

  6. Julie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Every time I go to a new doctor I have to tell them I am allergic to dairy. They look at me with a questioning pity and ask “lactose intollerant?” And I say “no, like a cheesecake could kill me”. I had to convince my dr. to do a skin test, then he didn’t even look at the result. He noted the trees that I was allergic to and was ready to leave when his nurse (bless him) added “And dairy”. The dr. looked suprised and mumbled “Oh, yes and dairy. Hmmm”. I haven’t really thought about getting my daughter tested. I saw her reaction when I tried to add yogurt to her diet. Since we are a mostly dairy-free house anyway I didn’t think it was necessary.

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