Living with Food Allergies - Peanut Allergy Information

Living with Food Allergies

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Living with food allergies is a never-ending educational process that is ever-changing from day to day. What is one day considered acceptable treatment is quickly shattered the next day at the loss of a precious little life.

Living with Food Allergies

We’ve lived with multiple food allergies for just over 2 years now. Our youngest son was first diagnosed with food allergies at 7 months of age to 6 of the top 8 allergens, and at 1-year-old we added 16 additional allergens to his list. Feeding him has been challenging over the past two years,  but we have managed and succeeded at keeping his nutrition our top priority.

This year, with our son’s allergists approval, we have done oral food challenges at home with some of our son’s lowest allergens. The allergens we have tested are allergens that cause mild eczema, not breathing difficulties, anaphylaxis, or other life threatening conditions. With these challenges our son received small doses of his allergens (similar to oral immunotherapy) and he can now tolerate 14 of his allergens with no reaction at all, including 4 of the top 8 major food allergens.

But now, after the passing of a local 13 year Natalie Giorgi who lived with a peanut allergy, we’re second guessing not only our oral food challenges but how we react when something goes wrong, because we have had a simple oral food challenge quickly go wrong as we found a new allergen for our son in what should have been a simple challenge with no reaction. Now we’re left with the question if we are ever put in the same situation again, should we administer his epinephrine pen?

Living with Food Allergies, a Never Ending Educational Process

Recently our son’s allergist, Travis A. Miller, M.D. of Capital Allergy & Respiratory Disease Center, held a symposium here in Sacramento titled ‘Understanding Your Food Allergies in the 21st Century’, and though I was unable to attend this event, I received a copy of the presentation from our local FARE representative, Veronica Braun.

As I sat reading through the presentation, I was excited to learn more information about our son’s food allergies, the process of food challenges and oral immunotherapy, and the sobering facts of food allergies in the United States.

Did you know peanut allergy and prevalence had tripled from 1997-2008 to include 15 million sufferers (3 million children). Not only is the quality of life significantly reduced for those suffering with food allergies, but food allergies are the leading cause of out-of-hospital anaphylaxis and anaphylactic death in the United States. Anyone suffering food allergies must have and use epinephrine.

Source: Travis A. Miller, M.D. of Capital Allergy & Respiratory Disease Center

But after the recent passing of Natalie Giorgi, experts around the United States are looking at how and when to administer an epi pen, with some suggesting to administer an epi pen after a known allergen has been consumed even if no reaction is present.

So what do we do now? Do we continue home oral food challenges? With new treatment guidelines for a food allergy reaction being tossed around by many experts in the field, it scares me to think there’s now a higher chance I may have to inject my son one day. With the new treatment guidelines, we’re even second guessing if we should have given our son an epi pen when he reacted to annatto.

We want to improve our son’s quality of life and reduce his number of allergens before he beings school in two years. Using oral food challenges to determine if tolerance is present and he has outgrown an allergy can give him the ability to safely eat and digest a food product without adverse symptoms or immunological response. Permanent tolerance will only develop after 3 years of oral immunotherapy and when he can ingest the allergen in his diet and successfully remain off oral immunotherapy.

Source: Travis A. Miller, M.D. of Capital Allergy & Respiratory Disease Center

What do you think of the recent new treatment guidelines for administering of epinephrine even before a reaction occurs?

Image courtesy Flickr.

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Stacy MolterLiving with Food AllergiesFancy Shanty | Stacy Molter

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