News Student Health

Some students suffer from severe food allergies

By Alex Kirshner ’18
THE ROUNDUP

Many students Brophy have food allergies of some sort, although some are more serious than others.

According to a September 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the most common allergen in teens is milk, which is followed by eggs and peanuts.

It is not uncommon for people to grow out of their allergies as they get older, but often with allergies such as tree nuts and peanuts, the allergies rarely go away and may get worse.

Ms. Cheryl Lenox, who teaches Biology, said that it is possible to outgrow these allergies, but not very likely.

“A study came out last week, actually, that exposed babies to peanuts at a very young age and, later in their life, tested them for allergies to peanuts,” Ms. Lenox said.

The same study discovered that babies who were fed a peanut butter mush between the ages of 4 and 11 months old were 80 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy than those who weren’t.

Sophomore Tanner Lederman ’18 has a congenital disease called eosinophilic esophagitis, which causes him to have several allergies to different foods.

“I can’t have dairy, corn, finned fish or any kind of nuts,” Lederman said. “It causes my throat to get smaller and smaller, and it causes me to have a hard time breathing. It also causes more congestion. Eventually, it can get bad enough to where I won’t be able to eat as much.”

As they are caused by a disease, Lederman won’t outgrow these allergies, and they are something he has to deal with for the rest of his life.

Max Schwarz ’18, who is also a sophomore, has dealt with severe food allergies his entire life.

“I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, pomegranates  and pretty much everything in nature,” he said.

He said he has outgrown many allergies that he had when he was younger, and he is attempting to cure his existing allergies as well.

“I’m doing sublingual immunotherapy drops, and it’s supposed to help me build up a tolerance to these allergies.”

Sublingual immunotherapy drops are an alternate way of treating allergies, and it works by  giving an extremely small amount of the allergen to the patient under his tongue to boost immunity to the substance.

With his extreme allergies, Schwarz is limited to a few restaurants that he is able to eat at.

“I’m fairly limited. I eat a lot of Chipotle and Jersey Mike’s,” he said. “But places like 5 Guys, where they have bags of peanuts on the floor, probably won’t work too well.”

Schwarz’s allergies are severe enough to where he needs an Epipen with him at all times, while  Lederman doesn’t require an Epipen.