What prompted you to seek help?
When my daughter Klara was 6 months old, we started on a new chapter of her babyhood: introducing solid foods. Everyone told us how fun it would be! So, it was disappointing when it appeared that Klara could hardly tolerate any of the first foods. Her face would break out into a red rash after eating. Shortly after, Klara was only getting bone broth and carrots due to her reactions. As breakouts on her face continued, we decided it was time to seek help. First, I called our pediatrician and he decided to run some bloodwork. By the time she was 7 months old, we discovered she had food allergies. When Klara ate eggs and milk, she would break out into hives all over her stomach, face, and sometimes fingers. Originally, she tested positive for peanut, milk, and egg allergies. Because we discovered her food allergies early, we never fed her nuts. Our doctor told us to avoid nuts completely for the time being. Klara was prescribed an EpiPen. I was concerned about Klara when we traveled because we flew on airplanes quite often to visit family. Suddenly traveling with an infant became even more stressful. As a young family, we wanted to travel without worry and for Klara to live her life normally.
Why did you choose Latitude?
During a playdate, I found out that my friend’s child had a peanut allergy and that they got treatment for him. She told me that there was treatment for food allergies – she said that avoiding foods forever wasn’t the only option! Ironically, the allergist we were seeing at that time never told me there was treatment and dismissed me when I brought up treatment with oral immunotherapy (OIT). I started researching other clinics. I wanted to be proactive and get Klara the help she needed immediately, however, the only option I found at that time had a 6 month waitlist. We were shocked and disappointed, yet didn’t know what else to do. After waiting nearly 6 months for that first appointment, we happened to talk with another friend who had an 18-month-old with nut allergies. She told me her child was being treated at Latitude in Redwood City, California. I immediately reached out to Latitude and got a response the next day. We scheduled an appointment the following week. I was excited not only because we didn’t have a long wait for an appointment, but because it was only a 30-minute drive from my home and Latitude takes my insurance. I was so excited to be welcomed by such a responsive and personalized team at Latitude!
From the beginning, Latitude has kept us informed about Klara’s food allergies. They provide testing and treatment. When they needed to collect a blood sample, I was given a choice to stay on-site with Latitude’s pediatric phlebotomist or to go to a lab outside for a blood draw. We decided to do the testing on-site at Latitude, and they were able to give a blood test to my child very quickly and gave her a toy afterward. This was great because, as a parent, it’s so tough to see your child get a blood draw. Latitude made it as comfortable as possible. Our experience with the blood draw was night and day compared to our prior experience at the doctor’s lab. I believe it was because they were experienced with pediatric blood draws at Latitude. We did discover that she was allergic to more foods including almonds, pistachio and cashew. Immediately, Latitude started taking action towards the necessary steps of caring for Klara and creating her customized treatment path. They continue to be very accommodating and work with us along the OIT process.
How do you hope testing/treatment will change your lifestyle and how has it done so already?
Before coming to Latitude, our goal was to live our lives normally, eat out without worrying, enjoy traveling and give Klara a better future in regards to her school years ahead. She was so young when we discovered her food allergies that we wanted to be proactive, so she wouldn’t have to face any social challenges later (birthday parties, playdates, and school). Latitude has allowed us to do oral food challenges to see where she is at with her food allergies. This has been incredibly helpful. Klara recently passed her liquid milk challenge and ate real ice cream for the first time! Ice cream was something we never thought she would be able to try without breaking out into hives until we came to Latitude. Each time a food challenge was completed at the clinic, the doctors gave us specific foods she could start eating to build up her tolerance for the allergenic food. She has also passed her baked egg food challenge and is in the process of OIT for multiple other allergens!
In the future, we look forward to continuing treatment and building up her tolerance. Traveling is becoming easier, and we are now able to eat at restaurants rather than needing to bring safe foods everywhere we go. That alone is such a relief! I am hopeful for her future and am confident that Latitude will allow us to give our daughter the protection she needs.
What other thoughts do you have about Klara’s food allergy journey?
So far, we have had an amazing experience with Latitude and feel very informed about Klara’s allergies and treatment. We were able to get help right away and get the personalized care we needed. I can relax knowing that we are in good hands and are doing everything we can to protect her. Latitude has already provided us with so much value and we aren’t even done. I would recommend Latitude to anyone struggling with food allergies because avoidance is not the only answer and there is help out there!