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Food Allergies Among Kids On The Rise

Kye Umstead
Kye Umstead, 8, of Lake City, Florida suffers from food allergies and anaphylaxis.

Kye Umstead nearly died while celebrating his first birthday.  He had an allergic reaction to his birthday cake.

His mother, Victoria Umstead, said, “I will never forget the night that we almost lost him.”

Kye, 8, from Lake City, Fla. deals with complications that many people may take for granted or overlook. He suffers from food allergies and anaphylaxis, a condition more and more parents are having to face, according to a 2013 report from the CDC that states food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.

Victoria Umstead remembers vividly the feeling of helplessness as she watched her son fight for his life.

“I remember the despair as he looked at me gasping to get air in through extremely swollen lips, squeaking out “help me, help me,” Victoria said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory visits per year for children under the age of 18. Outside of the hospital setting, food allergies are the leading cause of anaphylaxis.

Kye was officially diagnosed at year one when he had a reaction to his birthday cake.  Previous food allergy testing missed his wheat allergy, which caused him to go into dysbiosis and his gut to shut down resulting in renal and pancreatic insufficiency.

After his emergent reaction, doctors discovered he is allergic to gluten. Many blood tests and 172 skin pricks later, allergists concluded he is hypersenstive to: peanuts, eggs, wheat, shellfish, fish, tree nuts, and lamb.

Victoria does all she can to keep Kye healthy and strong to combat his food allergies.

Kye started receiving regular allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, when he was 18-months-old.  He now gets shots twice a month.

The CDC also found that children with food allergies are two to four times more likely to have other related medical conditions such as asthma and other allergies, as compared to children without food allergies.

Victoria said this is the hand we were dealt, and this is the hand we will play, and with God’s grace, we will play it well.

Justin is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 386-386-5607 or emailing jptompkins@ufl.edu