November 30, 2020

Collin’s Food Allergy Journey

Melissa’s son Collin was diagnosed with multiple food allergies as an infant. Collin, age 6, reached maintenance dosing with oral immunotherapy to peanut, cashew, and walnut in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa shares their food allergy journey from diagnosis to treatment, and what success looks like to their family. 

What are Collin’s allergies and what brought you to Latitude?

Collin has had several allergies since 4 months old. He has milk, egg, and nut allergies. We knew he was allergic to nuts based on a skin test and avoided all nuts at that time. We also had successful food challenges with milk and egg. He tested so clearly for peanut that we didn’t do an oral challenge. 

My pediatrician had mentioned oral immunotherapy as an option but we didn’t know where to go to find treatment. I did some research and spoke with an allergist at Stanford Children’s Health who recommended we contact Latitude. It was convenient and close to home.

Collin was just starting Kindergarten and his school was not nut-free and had a policy of separating kids with food allergies. He had to eat at a separate table and his best buddy couldn’t sit with him. These experiences made us look into treatment with oral immunotherapy to help his allergies. 

We started desensitization in September 2019 and Collin was able to reach his maintenance dose in May 2020 during the pandemic.

What details about your experience at Latitude have been important to your family?

The space at Latitude is great (my work actually focuses on healthcare furnishings in office spaces so I have a professional perspective). That is what really helped us. The entire experience is very different from being confined to a typical exam room. Before Latitude, when my son was a toddler, for a milk challenge, we had to take our own toys and blankets in a typical standard room for patients. I was surprised by that prior experience and set up. In contrast, Latitude has thought through everything when the kids are there for so long for a food challenge or an OIT updose. 

The staff is also amazing. Collin was always excited to go to Latitude because the staff are so welcoming. Collin’s favorite experience at Latitude was actually taking the nuts. He’s still excited about his nut powder and eating his nuts. It has been a great experience. His doses include peanut, cashew, and walnut (and provide protection to pistachio and pecans too). We reached maintenance in May and we just returned after 6 months for follow up.  

Latitude has really thought through the experience, including the hospitality and everything else. The snacks and drinks were great. And seeing how they dealt with COVID, Latitude had everything marked and the process was very thorough. Having someone outside to greet you is awesome so you don’t have to go to the office. That was great. I wasn’t worried about going there after COVID because I knew the office and I trusted them to take precautions. 

How has your family been impacted by Collin’s treatment with OIT?

It’s been reassuring. Collin knows what he can have and not have. He’s been more aware of nuts. I feel more confident if he goes over to a friend’s house without me. I feel like it’s reduced our worry about him eating his allergen by mistake.

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