SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) — One in 13 children suffer from food allergies.
Now, there’s a new treatment option for people in central Illinois.
The Midwest Food Allergy Center for Treatment is offering oral allergy desensitization.
"We will be desensitizing to milk, peanut, tree nuts, eggs and other things that people request, on an as-needed basis,” explained Dr. Dareen Siri, an allergist at Midwest Food Allergy Center for Treatment.
This is a new, up and coming treatment, never offered before in central Illinois.
Doctors will meet with patients on a regular basis and have them eat a very small dose of the food they’re allergic to.
“Some of the kids have been of course conditioned to have food aversion, so they're really fearful because they know this product is essentially something that could kill them," said Dr. Siri.
Miles Kaufman is a patient at the center.
He’s been diagnosed with five deadly food allergies.
Kaufman started to get frustrated that he couldn't be like every other kid.
This prompted Dr. Siri to suggest he go through desensitization treatment.
"At first it was really scary because I thought I'd get an allergic reaction, but then as I kept doing it, it wasn't as bad,” explained Kaufman.
Kaufman really wanted to get past his dairy allergy.
Dr. Siri started exposing him to small amounts of dairy, starting with baked milk.
Now, Kaufman's eating pizza every Friday.
“I love real pizza; it's really good," said Kaufman.
Desensitizing doesn't mean Kaufman won't have a reaction, so he still carries his Epi Pen everywhere he goes.
However, every day, Kaufman’s body becomes more immune to the allergen.
The main goal of oral desensitization is to reduce the chance of an anaphylaxis reaction.
For example, if a food item is crossed contaminated, there would be less chance for a severe reaction.
This treatment is offered at two locations, one in Bloomington and one in Springfield.
The Midwest Food Allergy Treatment Center can be reached at: 217.717.4404