A Family’s Journey from India to Pursue Food Allergy Treatment

Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Marietta, Georgia

DSC04543

It has been difficult for the Kumar family raising a daughter with food allergies in India where food allergies are not common or accepted.  When Laxmi was five months old, her parents discovered she was allergic to certain foods when her face swelled up, when she developed hives, and when she projectile vomited her baby cereal.  After testing, they uncovered the extent of her food allergies: she was allergic to milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, and all tree nuts.  Any exposure to those foods would result in an allergic reaction.  It was difficult to manage all the allergies in a country where food allergies are not prevalent.  As a result, Laxmi’s mom chose to stop pursuing her PhD in Biotechnology to stay home and care for her daughter.  She decided to homeschool her daughter and make each meal from scratch.

However, Mr. and Mrs. Kumar were intent on finding treatments or possible food allergy cures for their daughter.  Through online allergy support groups, Mrs. Kumar discovered Oral Immunotherapy (OIT), a treatment that desensitizes the body to a food allergen by daily ingestion of the food in increasing amounts.  After thorough research, they believed this treatment was the path they felt was the safest and most effective way to tackle Laxmi’s allergies to help her live a life without the restrictions of food allergies.

Unfortunately for the Kumar family, OIT is not offered in India.  Therefore, after much consideration and planning over five years, they decided to travel to the United States to pursue OIT.  Out of the 60 OIT allergists available in the United States, they chose Dr. Agrawal at Freedom Allergy in Peachtree City, Georgia to be their OIT allergist.  They researched and interviewed various other allergists, and felt that he was the best doctor for them due to his patient nature, knowledge, availability, and concern for all his patients.  With careful planning, they have moved to Georgia to pursue OIT treatment for 3 months.  Their goal is to return to the U.S. several times over the course of the next year to complete OIT for all of Laxmi’s allergens, and for her to be able to live a freer and safer life.

Laxmi is a courageous girl as she is dosing daily with her known allergens.  She is currently consuming a total of 0.24 ml of milk every day, an amount that could have caused anaphylaxis in the past.  When asked what she most looks forward to eating, she says she wants to eat ice cream, cakes, and chocolates, just like any regular kid.

This family made the move to a different country, to an unfamiliar city, with no friends or family nearby, to secure a better life for their daughter.  They chose the best doctor for their child, and they are excited for the future.

** names have been changed for the privacy of the family

Posted in Patient Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , .