Allergy research is constantly progressing and changing. That's why parents that have children with severe allergies need to be aware. "A lot of people don't realize food allergies and allergies in and of themselves are a very questionable science," said Julie Kutrna, a mother of two children with severe peanut allergies.
After having one bad reaction, the children know to stay away from the food; it's the environment they have to worry about. "In the beginning, I would go into the classroom and I would explain to the kids what it meant to have a peanut allergy, how severe it was," said Kutrna.
Allergists at Trinity Hospital see children of all ages, with all types of allergies, one in particular being the most severe.
"Accidental exposures are the biggest problem, and they're not completely avoidable. But you can take precautions, you can teach the children about what a peanut is, what an allergy is," said Dr. Michael Reder a Trinity Allergist.
"There is no need to delay introduction of any type of food in order to decrease someone's allergic potential, or their potential to become allergic to these foods like peanut, egg, or milk," said Dr. Sean Stanga, Trinity Allergist.
"Anaphylaxis is a combination of symptoms with organs in food allergies that almost always involves at least one skin system, whether it is itching, hives or rash, and one organ system," Dr. Reder said.
A new treatment known as oral immunotherapy could desensitize children with severe peanut allergies by gradually giving them a dose of peanut every single day.
"There are some research institutions that are doing desensitization with varied foods, specifically peanut and milk. They're challenging these children, giving them small amounts of these foods in order to produce a state of desensitization so on an accidental exposure in the future may be avoidable," said Dr. Stanga.
It's still in the works, but Julie Kutrna thinks this would be a game changer for her two children. "The fact that it could desensitize them a fraction is amazing, because it could save their life."
Kutrna hopes the legislature will pass a law making it legal to keep an epinephrine pen in every classroom to help the children with these severe allergies in case of an emergency.