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In honor of Food Allergy Awareness week, which is May 8-14, 9news highlighted two stories focusing on new research being conducted at Children's Hospital Colorado to help reduce food allergies, as well as tips and recipes for children with these allergies. Along the way they met Lily, a five-year-old Children's Colorado patient who has played a crucial role in the food allergy research being done here at our hospital.
Lily is part of a study being conducted by Drs. David Fleischer and Matthew Greenhawt, co-directors of the Food Challenge Unit. This study is focused on the use of a patch that slowly releases a patient’s allergen in to their skin in hopes to increase desensitization — giving the child just enough resistance to prevent a severe reaction if a small amount of the food is accidentally eaten. This would be life-changing as it would give families more time to get treatment to the allergy or stop the eating of the allergen. Because as most parents know, accidents can happen no matter how careful you are.
The study comes at a time when food allergies are on the rise. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, the number of food allergies among children increased by about 50% between 1997 and 2011. Researchers don’t quite know why, but they think now is an important time to educate the public, especially during this week.