LYNCHBURG, VA. (WSET) – For Anthony and Rachel Waff dinner time can get complicated.
Not because of what their three children eat and do not want to eat, but because of what their younger children can not eat.
Asher, two years old, has severe food allergies.
Peanuts, eggs, garlic are just some of the foods that could make you stop breathing.
His doctors are not sure why, since no one else in his family deals with this, but Asher's immune system considers that the specific foods or something in those foods are dangerous.
But Asher does not even have to eat the food to have a reaction.
They discovered that he was allergic to garlic after it exploded when his dog licked him on his leg after eating dog food that contained garlic.
The other two children do not have food allergies, but they have to be careful with their little brother.
If they eat something that he can not eat, Asher has to be in his high chair … And Abe and Anderson eat paper plates that can be thrown away so that there are no remains of food that could hurt Asher.
Asher's pediatric allergist says that at this time, there are no medications or vaccines for those who have food allergies, but he is hopeful that oral desensitization is on the horizon.
There are some places in the United States that are already testing that approach, which actually means giving the patient small amounts of the food they are allergic to.
The Waffs investigated and found the Southern California Food Allergy Institute, which claims to have had great success with its "tolerance induction program."
The program has a waiting list of more than one year, but after six months, the Waffs received the call that Asher had been accepted.
And right now, the family is in California, where Asher will soon begin this unique treatment: eat the foods to which he is allergic.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently published a study that shows that oral desensitization seems to be a safe and effective treatment for some children with peanut allergies, but they say they should still analyze the long-term effects.
The Institute of Allergy Allergies of Southern California states that their program works by saying that they have almost 3,500 graduates who can now eat without limitations.
The Waffs say that this program offers the best hope for Asher to lead a normal life.
Asher will have to return to California every 6 to 8 weeks for more than a year. Then he will return every 6 months or so, probably for the rest of his life just to make sure he is still tolerating foods that, at some point, could be deadly.
Waff insurance covers much of the treatment, but not travel costs to get to California every two months. They have a place to go finance me. You can find a link here.