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Old 10-16-2017, 09:13 AM
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Default Need scale advice... update post 30

Hello all. Haven't been on much lately as life has gotten in the way as it usually does. Here's my dilemma which has NOTHING to do with reloading but you guys know scales:

My 4 year old son has a severe peanut allergy. As in life threatening. He will be starting kindergarten next year and while he's very aware of his allergy, his school isn't peanut free. Anyone with kids knows how messy they can be and how much of a mess a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can make! If any of that peanut residue were to get on him and he touched his eyes, nose, mouth he could die. Seems just about every snack is labeled "may contain peanuts" or "made in the same facility with peanuts" which can cause a reaction. This absolutely scares me to death and I've had many sleepless nights worrying about him. There's a new therapy out now that you give extremely small measured amounts of peanut protein powder daily and get the doses raised weekly over the course of 6 months give or take (before he starts school!). While still allergic, he'll be able to tolerate peanuts and be much safer at school.


With that said, and if you're still with me...we have to measure his doses at home 6 days a week (the 7th day is an office visit and dose gets raised). The Dr office sold my wife some $12.99 digital scale! Obviously you guys know a thing or 2 about cheap scales. Thing didn't even come with a weight to check (I have my own from loading thankfully)! So I'm looking for a good digital scale as my wife isn't comfortable using a beam. I think we will be measuring a couple grams. It's way less peanut powder but it's in a solution. My very old Lyman d5 has broken and it's my only reloading scale so it's not even going to serve as a back up. Just had a daughter 3 months ago so money is tight but I'd sell everything I have to make sure my son is safe!

Anybody have any recommendations? Like I said, money is extremely tight but I need to do the right thing and get what will work.

Mods, if this isn't allowed please move it or delete it. I know it's not reloading related but when I have scale questions these are my go to guys. The same reloading scales should be more than capable to handle what I need as we measure tenths of a grain.
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:54 AM
oneounceload oneounceload is offline
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I have a digital kitchen scale made by Salter - it can be used for either metric or Av. weights. Guess it depends on how precise. Are you talking whole grams or multi-decimal parts? Mine does whole grams or down to 1/8 oz. I use it for my diet regimen for certain things.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:19 AM
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What accuracy level? A cheap digital is fine weighing to about 1/2oz.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:18 AM
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Ebay offers up some nice deals on Acculab/Satorious scales. Digital, easy to read and very accurate.
I'm not sure how much you are willing to afford but here is one to consider:
Acculab V-1mg Electronic Balance / Scale-"NEW IN BOX" | eBay

And if it helps I'll donate $10 to your needs on the purchase
Karl
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:53 AM
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That $12.99 scale will serve your purpose just fine. If it wouldn't, I doubt the Dr. would have given it to you.

In fact, you can find cheaper scales on Amazon that still work great. So don't let the price concern you. I've had a few of the cheap $10-$20 scales and they all were accurate.

The only pain is they don't come with the proper weight for calibrating. Once you have a calibrating weight for it, and do so, they will be plenty accurate for the small measurements you will be doing.

My current $12 digital is used sometimes as a double checker to my RCBS 10-10, and I've never had a problem with the two not agreeing with each other. I can put any gram weight piece out of my calibrating set on it, and it's dead on.

Last edited by iPac; 10-16-2017 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:16 PM
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How extreme is an extremely small amount? That will determine the amount that you will need to spend. Some of the analytical lab scales available from Amazon look like very good deals.
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:58 PM
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I don't know the size of your powder doses, nor the increments you expect to see. With that said . . .

The two main issues with cheap digital scales boil down to fluttering (what the hell really is that weight?) and flat out giving the wrong weight. As long as the scale isn't fluttering wildly - as if it were playing a musical scale - it's not going to be off by more than a grain, or two.

1 gram is ~15 grains, so if you are dealing with "a couple of grams" the max error rate is probably extremely small. So here's what I'd do:

I'd use the scale provided, and weigh a known quantity before each peanut powder weighing.

You apparently have calibration and/or check weights so they might serve well. A nickel would serve equally well at ~5g, and might be more wife-friendly. While wear, tear, and grime may cause your sample nickel to vary from standard, it will not vary much today from what it weighed yesterday.

If you are a "belt, suspenders, and a rope" kind of guy (and I would understand if you are in this case), you could sandwich 2 weighings of your powder in between 3 weighings of the nickel.

That should give you confidence that the daily dose is well within the tolerable range the doctor expected given the tools involved.

I wish you best of luck with the allergy treatment. I remember my own reaction when I gave my peanut-eating 3 yr old grandson a cashew, and he flushed and swelled almost immediately. He's still mildly allergic just to cashews at 17.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:52 PM
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If a check weight is a problem, all pennies from 1983 to the present weigh 2.5 grams.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:50 PM
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Grains? Grams? Be ABSOLUTELY sure that you know what your Dr is prescribing. I would be surprised if he used English rather than metric, but be sure.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:14 PM
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I had to confiscate 3 or 4 small battery "Drug" digital scales during evictions at work. I kept 2 that weren't too covered in residue. I checked them with my loading scales, both triple beam and digital. With fresh batteries they were accurate and consistent! That cheap-o scale from the Dr. office is probably just fine.

The scale I kept for myself will measure grains, grams, carats, and pennyweight. So it will do gunpowder, medicine, diamonds, and gold! I gave the other to my brother, who only loads shotgun to check to see if the bushing chart is accurate, It Is.

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Old 10-16-2017, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the help everyone. Sincerely appreciate the advice and the donation from Karl (I'll decline the offer but the gesture shows me the kind of people we have here!).

I'll go over the dosing next Tuesday during our first appointment but I picked up the information today. It looks like for the first several weeks it's going to be a solution with the protein mixed in. Very diluted according to the chart. It's in ml so maybe that part will be in a syringe until the larger pieces will be introduced and the larger pieces weighed.

Anyway I'm mostly worried about the reliability of the scale since I've had 2 $75 digital ones just up and die quickly in the past. Since my old Lyman d5 is no longer together I'll just shop around for another used beam scale and use that as a back up.

I do have check weights and a 20 gram calibration weight but I think this digital one uses 100 GRAM to calibrate. The nickels and pennies idea is great. I can verify on the beam when I get it.

You guys are the best! When we found out he was allergic at 2 years old. I gave him a couple peanuts. He vomited and started having strange breathing. He had this blank look on his face and wasn't responding to us talking to him. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. Never felt so helpless and had me shaken up badly because I could have killed my son. There are many others out there with much worse going on and I feel for them, but wow...this really shook me up.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:06 PM
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Midway sells the Frankford Arsenal digital scale for about 30 dollars. Having used one for several years as a backup to my RCBS beam scale I am well acquainted with it's flaws and it's inherent accuracy.

While distinctly cheap it is actually an accurate scale. However it is only truly accurate for about a minute after you first turn in on. As the circuitry "warms up" the zero will start to drift in a sinusoidal pattern and that drift can be as much as +/- 0.3 grains. My normal procedure is to set my beam scale, tune in my charge weight on my powder measure and to insure I have set the beam scale properly I'll fire up the Frankfort scale and dump the pan from my beam scale to confirm the weight shown for both scales match.

Now, you are going to be measuring in Grams, which the Frankford scale can be set to. Keep in mind that there are 15 grains in 1 gram. So to get an idea of the level of accuracy in grams take that 0.3 grain deviation and divide that by 15 to get the deviation in grams. BTW, that work out to a deviation range of 0.02 grams, or 2/100 grams. Quite simply it is more than accurate enough for what you want to do.

Tip, the scale is set up to Auto On the display light at start up and I always turn that light off to conserve the batteries. I also have a gut feeling that turning the light off reduces current draw and may reduce the amount of that sinusoidal swing in the zero for the scale. Also, be careful to NEVER overload any digital scale. Because doing this can damage the transducers and totally grenade the accuracy of the scale.

I will also note the maximum capacity for this scale is 750 grains or 50 grams, so if you need to weigh out more than 50 grams of that protein powder you may have to do multiple measurements.

Following is a link to the Midway listing for this scale. Take note that it comes with a calibration weight.

Frankford Arsenal DS-750 Electronic Powder Scale 750 - MPN: 205205

PS; more than 40 years ago my brother and I had a friend who was born with broad spectrum food allergies, meaning he was "sensitive" to almost any food substance you can name. For the first 4 years of his life the only nutrient he could tolerate in volume was Human Milk. Over a period of many years he was gradually given different foods in tiny increasing increments until about 18 years where he could eat just about anything except shellfish. So what you are doing for your child really isn't as new as your doctor may have led you to believe. What is new is that this type of therapy has been expanded from something prescribed only for true desperation cases to those with more narrowly defined food sensitivities such as peanut allergies. Quite simply what you are doing WILL work.

Last edited by scooter123; 10-16-2017 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:12 AM
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There are 64.8 mg per grain and 437.5gr per ounce. After looking at the titration chart, nothing but the best of scales will be good enough when starting the program. You will pay for the ability to measure the smallest quantities and need a scale sold for labs. Obviously a scale with a 0.5gr sensitivity will not be accurate enough.

It can be done by serial dilution, but that takes special training.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganScott View Post
There are 64.8 mg per grain and 437.5gr per ounce. After looking at the titration chart, nothing but the best of scales will be good enough when starting the program. You will pay for the ability to measure the smallest quantities and need a scale sold for labs. Obviously a scale with a 0.5gr sensitivity will not be accurate enough.

It can be done by serial dilution, but that takes special training.
You do realize that the difference between a Milligram and a Gram is a factor of One Thousand don't you. The OP stated he will be working in the Gram range, as in "a couple of grams". I believe that he is weighing out is a liquid solution that I would expect already has the protein powder in solution. This means that he doesn't need a 500 to 5000 dollar lab grade scale, a simple moderately accurate scale that reads out in decimal grams will do just fine.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:50 AM
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You could also use a nickel as a calibrating weight. All U.S. nickels are 5 grams.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:36 AM
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I have a Lyman digital powder scale, and like most digital powder scales it can be set to read out in either grains or grams. It came with a 20 gram check weight. I also have an Ohaus 4-beam laboratory scale with magnetic damper, with a precision of 0.01 gram (10 mg or 0.154 grains). My favorite for weighing bullets and cases for consistency. It will weigh up to 500 grams, but I never need that much capacity. I will note that my Lyman digital scale requires a "warmup" period of about 15 minutes after turning it on before use, which is a little irritating. That may not be the case for current digital scales, as my Lyman is almost 10 years old. I don't know anything about the digital scales sold mainly for weighing illegal (in some states) substances, but no reason that they shouldn't work fine. Those guys need precision just like the rest of us.

Last edited by DWalt; 10-19-2017 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:37 AM
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Take your scales to your pharmacy and ask them to verify your equipment and methods
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogsawaste View Post
I do have check weights and a 20 gram calibration weight but I think this digital one uses 100 GRAM to calibrate. The nickels and pennies idea is great. I can verify on the beam when I get it.
Just keep this in mind. You want to use the calibrating weight they state. So if they state 100gram weight, use a 100gram weight. Weight sets can be bought on Amazon for like $5 IIRC, and will include anything you need for future scale use.

The cheaper scales will be accurate, but just make sure they operate in the range you need. My current $12 only has a 100gram max, my old one had a 500gram max. This current one reads down to 0.01grams though, whereas the old one wasn't that sensitive, maybe 0.1gram increments.

In a pinch, 20 nickels will work for 100grams, but there is the possibility for variances between coins.

Good luck and I hope the treatment helps alleviate your sons allergy.

Last edited by iPac; 10-18-2017 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by forestswin View Post
Take your scales to your pharmacy and ask them to verify your equipment and methods
Most pharmacies today don't need scales, they mainly just take pills or liquids out of big bottles and put them into smaller ones. Some compounding pharmacies still use scales.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:16 PM
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Calibrating a scale is a totally different procedure from checking it for accuracy, and the weight(s) specified for calibrating a scale are different from the weights you use to check accuracy. My digital scale uses two weights of 20 and 30 grams (equivalent to approximately 300 and 450 grains, respectively), singly and then in combination, to run through the calibration procedure. I rarely do, or find that I need to do, a calibration. What I do regularly and often is verify the scale's accuracy with my set of laboratory-grade check weights. When I do that, I choose a check weight similar to what I'm weighing at the time - say, 20 grains for powder, maybe 200 grains if I'm weighing bullets.

From the chart you provided, the initial doses, through Day 16, will be a solution that is measured by volume, with the lowest dose being 1 ml. Measuring a 1 ml dose by use of a syringe of the appropriate size is a trivial procedure with very limited chance for error. I'm assuming that the solution is provided to you - if you're expected to mix the solution yourself, that's a different issue entirely, and from the concentrations listed would appear to require a laboratory-grade scale unless mixed up in very large quantities.

When you transition to measuring doses by weight starting on Day 17, the lowest dose of peanut powder you'll have to weigh out is 0.1 gram, equivalent to about 1.5 grains (1.54324 to be exact). With a properly checked scale (using check weights, or the penny at 2.5 grams, nickel at 5.0 grams method discussed earlier), that shouldn't be an issue. Use of a known check weight just before weighing the peanut powder is the key - if the scale gets the known check weight of comparable size right, it's going to get your peanut powder right. After Day 17, the amounts of peanut powder and, later, actual peanuts increase rapidly and make it even easier for you to be sufficiently accurate.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:01 PM
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My original RCBS 10-10 Scale is still in perfect shape and still accurate so it's the only reloading scale I've ever owned.

Most of the younger guys are buying Digital Scales these days and I did use one of Dillon's Digital's at a friends house last year. It was nice, seemed easy to use but being stuck in "vintage world" I prefer my mechanical 10 -10.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
Most pharmacies today don't need scales, they mainly just take pills or liquids out of big bottles and put them into smaller ones. Some compounding pharmacies still use scales.
It sseems you're right,
I asked a pharmacist friend

But she said all pharmacies are required by law to have one

OP is dealing with medicine, I'd bet they'd be glad to help
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:02 PM
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A compounding pharmacy that mixes custom prescriptions would be a good place to check your scales and your methods. They might even pre-mix your son's doses. I wish you and your family the best.
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:15 PM
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Default The Frankford Arsenal...

I've had very good luck with the little digital I got from Midway. I does grams and grains. It also has a calibration weight in it but I think for smaller measurements I'd get a 'check set' of weights. The whole shebang would cost well under $100, more like $75.

Mine works VERY well but you have to keep an eye on it and when it has difficulty getting consistent readings or is slow about showing a reading, it needs the batteries changed. Check it often and you'll have no problem. I've had this one a several years now and if it breaks tomorrow, I'll just go buy another one.
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
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You do realize that the difference between a Milligram and a Gram is a factor of One Thousand don't you. The OP stated he will be working in the Gram range, as in "a couple of grams". I believe that he is weighing out is a liquid solution that I would expect already has the protein powder in solution. This means that he doesn't need a 500 to 5000 dollar lab grade scale, a simple moderately accurate scale that reads out in decimal grams will do just fine.
I certainly do. I've been dealing with mg and grains on a daily basis for over 40 years. The OP talks about measuring peanut powder, not a solution. The starting doses listed in the chart are in mg weights of powder and microgram weights in liquid. You don't weigh solutions except under unusual circumstances; you measure them.

The easiest way to get the concentration the OP shows in the chart is to dilute a gram of powder in 1 liter of fluid. You get a 1mg/ml solution. Then you can take an aliquot with a pipette and dilute that down further depending on the strength of the solution needed.

The OP needs a scale with the sensitivity that DWalt mentioned. The other ones that have been mentioned that are sensitive to 0.1 grains won't make it. His best bet is to get a prescription for a solution mixed up by a compounding pharmacy with the proper directions for use. It won't be cheap, but it will be safe.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:59 AM
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I've been using one of these for a couple of months. It's great. Comes with a case, check weight, instructions. It replaced an inexpensive scale by the same maker that I used for many years.

Frankford Arsenal DS-750 Electronic Powder Scale 750 - MPN: 205205
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:33 PM
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With the spirit to be helpful and to help avoid mistakes, here are some definitions from your titration chart posted in post #11 above: mcg = micrograms, mg = milligrams, g = grams, ml (more correctly abbreviated mL) = milliliter.

In modern medicine measurements are metric. However some old timers still might use grains which is abbreviated gr. If handwritten it can be a very big problem to differentiate between gr and gm. The way I remember the conversion is 2 standard Tylenol tablet is 10 gr or 650 mg therefore 1 gr is 65 mg.

I hope the doctor’s office or a pharmacy is supplying the titrations premixed to you. This is best left to the professionals.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:47 PM
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For a long time I used an ancient two-pan apothecaries' scale for weighing powder. You had to use weights on one pan if you needed to weigh more than 15 grains (up to which you could use a slider). I made up a series of 10 and 25 grain weights myself to use it using a laboratory analytical balance. I still have it, but haven't used it for many years.

My very first real job was in an analytical chemistry lab (believe it or not, in a smokeless powder plant production lab), and I got a lot of experience working with the old-style two-pan analytical balances. They had a precision of 0.0001 grams (1/10th of a milligram). I doubt that most chemists today have ever used (or maybe never even seen) one of those.

BTW. I weighed (on my Ohaus 4-beam scale) some high-condition clean pennies and dimes to find average weights. To the closest 0.01 grams, a penny is 2.51 grams (38.7 grains), a dime is 2.23 grams (34.4 grains).

Last edited by DWalt; 10-23-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:34 AM
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Thanks everyone. We started on Tuesday sitting in the dr office for 5 hours with the nurse administering the first 10 doses every 20 minutes and waiting around afterwards to monitor (this was not easy with a 4 year old). They thankfully pre measure the liquid solution and all I have to to is measure volume until we start the dry. Then the scale is used. So everything seems as easy as possible and for those who care he did great. It’s still a little nerve wracking for me to give him the solution but we’re following all the protocols and I’m watching him closely for 2 hours after. It’s only day 3 but it’s started and we’re hopeful.

I’ll get back with everyone as time goes by and let you all know how he’s doing (if anyone cares to hear).
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:51 AM
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Well if anyone cares he “graduated” from his peanut OIT! He’s been on maintenance for a month now. He eats 8 peanuts a day, at the same time every day and although he doesn’t like the taste of peanuts, it makes him safe from cross contamination and that’s all that we really needed anyway. So now we can eat out at any restaurants, have all kinds of treats that are made in facilities with peanuts, and basically be a kid and not have us take away most of his Halloween candy etc. Had a few bumps on the road but no major reactions. We were skirting on the edge during escalation sometimes so we dropped the dose back and waited another week during those times.

Thanks everyone for the help and offers through pm etc. Great bunch of guys here.

Here he is yesterday eating ice cream at a local ice cream shop. Somewhere we couldn’t even go to because of peanut dust/residue on things.

Oh forgot to mention. I went with a Frankfort digital that works perfectly fine.
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