Danny Pearce, an eleven year old boy from Tredegar, South Wales, has been allergic to dogs all his life. His allergy was so severe it was life threatening and he could swell up and fall unconsious if he touched them. Terrifying and also heart breaking for a little boy who longed to have a puppy of his own.
Well, his dreams have come true, he does have a new dog now, and after two years of treatment he is finally cured of his animal hair allergy; he’s been able visit friends’ houses and stroke all their different dogs with no reactions what so ever. A simple spray under his tongue containing a very small amount of dog hair was administered at regular intervals and the result has meant Danny is now completely desensitised. Sounds like a miracle doesn’t it?
Find out all about Danny and his successful treatment with the drug Staloral in this Daily Mail article: “The real hair of the dog: Boy cured of pet allergy after taking medicine made from animal hair”
We’ve heard already about the ground breaking desensitisation of a group of children with peanut allergies at Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridge. I wrote about this in a previous blog post entitled “Avoid, reintroduce or desensitise”
What I’d like to know is how people interested in this treatment for themselves, or their allergic child, can get help. Danny clearly had a servere life threatening allergy and was referred to a paediatric consultant in London, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of other people who are not so lucky.
More importantly, I want to understand how and why the body can get such mixed messages about completely harmless things like animal hair and certain food stuffs. What is it about some foods that can trigger life threatening allergies in some people? Why do some people have allergies and others not? By understanding all these things more fully can scientists find a cure that can reverse these reactions? Desensitisation sounds like the answer, but it’s a long journey of careful, controlled administration of tiny doses of the allergen with strict monitoring, and it can take years. Clearly the NHS would struggle to fund this for the growing allergic population, and who would qualify?
I’d love to try this treatment – it really would change my life. I could walk into any restaurant and order anything that takes my fancy without any questions about what it contains. How about a home made chicken and mushroom pie for starters, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I could leave the house without a bag full of epipen’s and anti-histamines and I could go out to dinner at anyone’s house without contantly worrying that they’ve forgotten and used the wrong ingredients, or that their cat will leap onto my lap.
What do you think? Would you like to try desensitation treatment? How would it change your life? What if, like me, you are sensitive to many things – how long would complete desensitisation take, and could the allergy come back? Do you think this treatment should be available on the NHS? Have you tried it successfully yourself? Can it be done privately? Has anyone tried that?
I’d love to hear what you all think, and as you can see I’ve still got far more questions than answers. Comments please…