Dr. Factor: Eye on Health: Peanut Allergies; WRCB-TV, 2011

Eye on Health: Peanut Allergies

By LaTrice Currie, Anchor/Reporter, Feb 25, 2011

7 year old Michael Coyne sees his allergist regularly.

Dr. Jeffrey Factor is no ordinary allergist, he heads up The “New England Food Allergy Treatment Center” which has a unique approach to peanut allergies .

“My throat closes and I throw up and it feels like there’s a piece of toothbrush is stuck in my throat,” says Coyne of his peanut allergy attack.

Like many parents of children with potentially deadly peanut allergies, the Coyne’s have to limit Michael’s activities for fear of exposure.

“I don’t let him do sleepovers, even at families houses, it’s too hard to trust people with the allergies and it’s not that they don’t try, it’s just that if you don’t live it you don’t understand it,” says Michael’s mom, Maura Coyne.

Each dose is carefully measured in a special room. This is essentially “peanut dust”, being measured out in a special room. It is then mixed into food and “given to” patients starting with very small amounts and gradually increasing the dose. It’s called “oral immunotherapy.”

“Essentially desensitize them to peanuts so that the goal for us is to have them take approximately 2-3 peanuts every day,” says Dr. Factor.

At first, patients must wait a few hours at the clinic after getting their dose. They are carefully supervised by a physician.

Doctor Factor says this has proven effective at research hospitals in the past.  He says it’s not a “cure”, just a way to build up an immunity and live with the risk of peanut exposure.

“I just felt like it would change his life drastically. I could let him do things that I would never have let him do before,” says Maura Coyne.

The Coyne’s receive their son’s larger dosage.

“My wife was concerned when it just started but we feel really comfortable every time he gets a dose and I feel like we’re on the road to a good solution,” says Michael’s dad, Greg Coyne.

Doctor Factor believes the program will become more popular…because the number of people diagnosed with peanut allergies has doubled in the past 15 years.

The program costs three thousand dollars and it isn’t covered by insurance.

If you have questions when it comes to treating allergies, be sure and contact your local doctor about the different methods that are available.

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