Allergies can cause reactions to anything from pollen to pet dander to peanut butter. While it’s not uncommon for children to be allergic to some foods, imagine being a child like 5-year-old Charlie Mays, who is allergic to most foods. Charlie has never even been able to enjoy his own birthday cake.
“At 2 months old, Charlie began vomiting regularly,” said Beth Mays, Charlie’s mother. “He got to a point where he was vomiting 10 to 20 times a day.”
Charlie suffers from an eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorder, commonly referred to as EGID. He and a growing number of children like him have life-altering allergic reactions when they eat certain foods.
According to Dr. Marc Rothenberg at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, there are tens of thousands of people in the United States who have EGID, but most probably have gone undiagnosed. Often, EGID is misdiagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Signs of EGID include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, food sticking in the throat, and the failure to grow and thrive.
Children like Charlie who suffer from EGID rely on a special hypoallergenic elemental formula to keep them nourished, and some are fed through a tube that goes directly into their stomachs. Ross Pediatrics makes such a formula, called EleCare, which provides all of the proper nutrients children with EGID need to grow and thrive during their developmental years.
“When Charlie started on EleCare, I felt like I met my son for the first time,” Beth Mays said. “He was able to enjoy his life because he no longer lived in pain.”
Doctors continue to look for answers as to why EGID cases have increased in the past few years and how to treat and cure children with this disorder.
“In the year 2005, we really have established that this disease is not uncommon,” said Rothenberg.
In children, the most important impact is helping them to grow and develop normally.