LI doctor uses desensitization therapy for food allergies

Parents of children with serious food allergies know that it means constantly monitoring meals, having careful conversations at restaurants and living in a state of

Now, some food allergy sufferers could find hope in a treatment that involves carefully monitored exposure to the allergen with help from a professional.

Now, some food allergy sufferers could find hope in a treatment that involves carefully monitored exposure to the allergen with help from a professional. (8/15/16)

CENTEREACH - Parents of children with serious food allergies know that it means constantly monitoring meals, having careful conversations at restaurants and living in a state of ingredient awareness.

About one in 13 children have a food allergy, and officials say about 200 children die each year from them.

Now, some could find hope in a treatment that involves carefully monitored exposure to the allergen with help from a professional.

Ambre DeVirgilio’s son Luke was diagnosed with a peanut allergy two years ago, when he broke out in hives after eating a snack. "I'm never comfortable leaving him alone," she says. "I'm in constant fear over his peanut allergy.”

Her son is now being treated with oral immunotherapy, also known as OIT, by an allergist in Centereach. Dr. Atul Shah is one of only two doctors in New York state using the treatment, which is not FDA-approved or endorsed by any major allergy association.

Shah says it's not a cure, but it’s a desensitization that comes with gradually increasing exposure to the allergen under close supervision.

The treatment involves giving the patient the food they're allergic to in tiny micro-doses that are gradually increased over several months. Dr. Shah says it could still take years before the patient can tolerate the food.

The OIT treatment is reserved for only those who have life-threatening allergies.

Dr. Shah stresses that parents should never attempt the therapy at home without a doctor because of the risk of a reaction.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

2 people were killed and 1 man is 1 2 killed, 1 in stable condition after Gabreski Airport plane crash
Sources say two people were killed and one 2 2 dead, 1 injured in Gabreski Airport small plane crash
Authorities say a Syosset man was killed and 3 LI man dies when car plunges into CT river
Actor Bill Paxton was beloved for his roles 4 Actor Bill Paxton dies at age 61
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on Long Island Sunday 5 Cuomo unveils $130M project to reconstruct Nassau Expressway

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE