I have been participating in the peanut allergy desensitization treatment research study at Arkansas Children's Hospital for 6 months now. When I first started back in July of 2007, my skin tests showed strong reactions to very small amounts of peanut and my daily dosage started out with me eating approx. a few grains per day. My daily dosage is now about the equivalent of 1.5 peanuts!
Recently I was asked what the allergy skin tests for my peanut allergy study feel like. It feels like a cross between a sting and a pinch as they have to scratch your skin in different places to put the different drops on you. For me, they do this on my back. It took me a few times to get used to the stinging/pinching feeling but it only lasts a few seconds and now the worst part is the itching for 15 minutes without scratching! The different drops all have different solutions to determine how allergic you are to different levels of peanut (low, medium or high). When the nurses are doing my skin tests they actually draw a circle around the red, itchy area with an ink pen to show how big or strong my allergic reaction is to each of the different test spots on my back. Then they put scotch tape over each of the circles and gently pull up (like removing a band-aid). The ink circles show up on the clear tape and they put the pieces of tape on my charts for comparison to earlier tests. Hopefully, my circles are getting smaller.
The best part of these allergy skin tests is after the 15 minutes is up, they wash your back with a cold wash cloth and put anti-histamine cream on you! Ahhh, that feels good! Then you get a reward of playing Nintendo Game Boy or other games and sometimes you even get to pick from the prize room.
So as you can see, life in a peanut allergy treament research study, is tough... not!
In closing, I'd like to give a shout out to my LSU Tigers for winning the 2007 football National Championship! Now maybe, the doctors and nurses in Little Rock can cut me some slack since we lost to their beloved Razorbacks this year. GEAUX TIGERS!