Wausau child manages many food allergies, grows more tolerance

Managing Food Allergies 5/10/2021
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 9:59 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Carter Hall has learned how to manage a long list of food allergies and has even grown more tolerant to some in the process.

Hall, who’s four years old, first had an allergic reaction when he was seven months old. He ate a banana, and within one minute of eating it, the reaction was severe.

“He started vomiting, was covered in hives head to toe and was having shortness of breath or problems breathing,” his mom Katie Hall said.

After a trip to the emergency room, Katie decided to take Carter to the University of Wisconsin hospitals. After many food tests, they discovered a long list of food allergies that includes peanuts, bananas, eggs and dairy. When he was one and a half years old, they found out he was also allergic to beef.

The reaction he would have is called Anaphylaxis, which makes up 30% of all allergic reactions.

“That can affect any organ system, breathing, belly, like vomiting, skin, hives like swelling,” said Dr. Anne Marie Singh, who treats Carter.

Dr. Singh added that one out of nine children have food allergies, though cases can range from mild to severe. When treating children like Carter, the number one form of treatment is learning how to live with the allergy.

“Educating families, how to read labels. How to live your best life. How to go to parties and participate in playdates and be around others where there’s going to be food,” Dr. Singh said.

But there’s one treatment gaining traction—food challenges.

“You actually eat or ingest escalating amounts of the peanut protein. Over time, that is thought to make your immune system not respond or almost desensitize you to the peanut,” Dr. Singh said.

While the treatment with peanuts is approved by the FDA, Carter did this with some of his allergens and it worked.

“He has successfully completed baked milk. And just last week the beef challenge,” Katie said.

Carter was able to eat half of a hamburger without a reaction and he was thrilled.

“He’s had the pork hot dogs, turkey sausage, things like that but he will say ‘I love beef,’” Katie said.

While Carter still deals with many allergies, managing it feels easier to the family. They also feel optimistic about his future.

“It’s moving in a positive direction. I think we’re going to start seeing some more treatment options. And we’re very hopeful for that,” Katie said.

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