Oral treatment helps children overcome severe food allergies

While many kids are looking forward to Halloween and trick or treating -- about one in every 13 won't be able to eat the candy due to food allergies.

AUSTIN - While many kids are looking forward to Halloween and trick or treating, about one in every 13 won't be able to eat the candy they receive because of food allergies, according to Food Allergy Research & Education.

OIT, or oral immunotherapy, could be a game changer in that statistic. It exposes kids to what they're allergic to in small doses, which desensitizes them to their allergies.

Nathan Cervantes, 8, is finishing up with OIT right in time for Halloween. Due to his life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, he's never been able to have peanut M&Ms or a Snickers bar. Now, thanks to oral immunotherapy that's about to change.

"It starts by giving kids very minute amount of the foods their allergic to," allergist Stacy Silvers said. "Slowly over time, six to twelve months, we get them to where they're eating larger and larger amounts."

"It's a desensitization process," Nathan's mom Margo Cenvantes said.

OIT has worked for Nathan and about 80 percent of Dr. Silver's child patients.

"His confidence and his not being afraid all the time is huge," Cenvantes said. "It's changed our entire family's life." 

Right in time for Halloween, Nathan is now able to eat whatever he wants.

"We're super excited," Cenvantes said.

Nathan will be dressing up as a Flametrooper from Star Wars.

"We're going to go trick or treating," Nathan said. "Then come back to my place and eat all of the candy."

If your child does have food allergies, you can check out the Teal Pumpkin Project online. Their websites will show you which homes in your neighborhood will be serving non-food items to trick or treaters. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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