I have looked into component testing several times throughout my daughter’s journey with a peanut allergy. I've read about there being some kids misdiagnosed with a peanut allergy when they actually have a birch tree allergy. This made me interested in having my daughter receive component testing due to her many outside allergies including a birch tree allergy. Nina, now 19, is the one who will have to make the decision on whether or not she would like to have component testing done.
Why haven’t I already had this done for her prior to her turning 18? The first reason is because it is still fairly new to the United States and I wanted to wait and see what results people were receiving. The second reason is because quite honestly I am nervous to see what the results are and if we can trust them.
From what I have researched, over 13 allergenic components have been identified in peanuts: http://www.questdiagnostics.com/testcenter/testguide.action?dc=TS_Peanut_Component_Panel
I found this information in a more easily read format regarding component testing: http://www.allassoc.com/a-new-test-for-patients-with-peanut-allergy/
Basically, if your test reveals a high total peanut level and most of it is component #2, then you are more likely to have a serious peanut allergy. If you have a high level, but it is mostly component #8, then there is a lower chance of a serious allergy if there is an allergy at all. So it comes down to component #8 resembling birch tree pollen, to which my daughter is allergic to. This is why I have considered component testing for her.
Nina has carried her epipens with her for years and yet has never had to use them, not even once. She had two minor reactions when she was young to tasting a tiny amount of peanut butter, but they were not anaphylactic. Her nose became stuffy and she became tired from it. Which I guess could be a cross reaction. She has vomited from ingesting foods we thought might have been processed in the same facility as peanuts, but then again that could have been coincidental. She was able to eat plain M & M’s without problems as a small child, but she stopped eating them after having her first blood test (after the reactions to peanut butter) showed she was in the high range for a peanut allergy. She was an 11kU/l which is in the high range.
Several years later, Nina had allergy testing using the skin prick test. This was after many double sinus infections. We found out she has many outdoor allergies and animal allergies. She once again scored high for a peanut allergy. 4+
I do worry that we will find out that she’s actually allergic to birch trees and not to peanuts and all these years of avoidance and strictly reading food labels, etc., has been unnecessary. Nina feels differently and believes that she would not have been able to eat peanuts anyway due to her cross reacting with them if indeed she only has a birch tree allergy. On the other hand, we could find out for sure that she does indeed have a severe peanut allergy as we have always believed.