Have you ever felt as though your child was “allergic to everything”? It’s not unusual for parents to feel that way if their child has severe food allergies to multiple foods. Your child is not truly allergic to everything, though. A boy in South Australia, however, actually is allergic to all foods.
A five year old named Kaleb lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He has a somewhat perplexing and rare condition that it took doctors a while to figure out. In short, Kaleb is allergic to all food. Testing is still being done to try and figure out why his body reacts that way to absolutely all types of food.
Food allergies are becoming more common. One in twelve American children has a food allergy of one type or another. A lot of kids are allergic to milk, eggs, soy, gluten, shellfish, or peanuts. There are other foods that can cause allergic reactions in children and adults, but those are some of the “big ones”. Some kids will have a severe allergy to one of those foods, and others will be severely allergic to a few, or all, of them. In general, no matter what food allergies a person has, there will still be something that he or she can safely eat.
That is not the case for Kaleb. His allergies started becoming obvious when he was weaned off of breast milk as an infant. The boy had constant diarrhea after eating food, which caused his mother to take him to the hospital to find out what was wrong. They tried putting him on a diet that didn’t include milk, and then expanded that to not include soy. They even tried a diet consisting only of organic foods, but nothing seemed to make Kaleb be healthy.
Last December, the boy was admitted to the hospital where he experienced repeated bouts of vomiting for a week, and would wake up at night screaming in pain. Doctors eventually determined that Kaleb had multiple food allergies and intolerances. As a result, he was also suffering from malabsorption. No one can explain why his symptoms are so severe.
Kaleb is fed through a machine that connects to his stomach through his belly button. Nutrients and calcium are pumped into his body 20 hours a day. This requires a nurse to constantly attend to his feeding apparatus, (or for his mother to do it). When he goes to school, the machine is placed in a backpack, which he wears all day, (except for one hour so he can run around the playground).
When the family eats dinner, Kaleb sits at the table and eats crushed ice. He is not allergic to the ice, and the chewing helps him to keep his face muscles exercised. I find it interesting that his family has found a way to work around his allergies so he can participate in family dinners. Doctors think that someday, his allergies will improve, and he will be able to eat food, but this is not a certainty.
Image by Seth Anderson on Flickr