Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital offering nut allergy intervention

Rainbow offering treatment for deadly nut allergies

The number of children who've developed deadly nut allergies has tripled in the last 20 years.

Luckily, a new treatment developed here is helping to reduce that threat by giving the child exactly what could kill them.

Dr. Eli Silver is a pediatric allergy specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.  Since November he's been helping to desensitize 5-year-old Adam Schenker's allergic reaction to peanuts.

Adam is one of the thousands who suffer from a severe peanut allergy. His allergy was discovered when he was just one-year-old.

However, recently he was able to try it for the first time, and like many of us, he likes it.

It's really a constant, everyday risk.

There isn't a day that Wendy, Adam's mom, doesn't worry about his exposure to peanuts. Even touching a surface could set off a deadly allergic reaction. 

Last November, Adam's family began taking steps to desensitize him to peanuts, little by little. 

How does it work?

Well, It usually involves starting with very very small amounts of peanut protein so tiny that it's below the level that can activate the reaction it's almost 1/50,000 of a peanut, nobody reacts to that.

For weeks, Adam has been building his tolerance leading up to the moment where he tastes peanut butter. 

His family says it took a lot of courage to start, but the result are life changing, 

"It takes a lot of strength, it's very stressful and intense and to know that your child is protected is a wonderful piece of mind to have," said Wendy. 

After finally trying the treat, Adam had no reaction.

His tolerance will continue to build over time, but in the mean time, her won't have to spend his life worrying about every bite he takes. 

"I really feel that it's lifesaving because it's reducing this thing that is potentially lethal and it's everywhere."

The oral immunotherapy has been used for peanut allergies for a few years, but Rainbow is one of the first in our region to offer it.

Meanwhile, guidelines have changed regarding when parents should give nuts to their children.

Studies have shown, babies given peanuts early on are 80 percent less likely to develop an allergy. 

It's encouraged that you talk with your pediatrician, but the thought is that peanut exposure between four and six months of age.

If the baby has an egg allergy or eczema, they may be at higher risk for an allergy.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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