AUSTIN, Texas - Belinda Vaca lost her son in 2014, to anaphylaxis, caused by a peanut allergy. And she's seen more people die in the past years.
“In just 2017, there have been five people that I know of,” said Vaca.
This past session, she tried to get SB 1683 passed. The food allergy bill, sponsored by Senator Eddie Lucio, that would allow businesses to inform their workers of the dangers of food allergies, and better educate them on what's in their food. The bill made it through the Senate but arrived at the house committee, too late. Vac said the ignorance of one employee, cost her son's life.
“Those deaths with food allergies, are deaths that shouldn't be happening,” said Vaca.
A new treatment called Oral Immunotherapy could have helped her son.
“Start them with really small doses of that food that previously caused harm to them and overtime, months and months, we get them to the point where they can eat a full serving of that food,” said Dr. Stacy Silvers, M.D.
To be most effective, they start the doses on the patient when they are children. Texan Allergy and Sinus Center is one of the few in the state doing this kind of therapy which is different from the typical drops or shot treatments.
“I cannot explain what not living like this, and not living out of fear would mean to our family,” said Kristi Martin, whose kids have peanut and tree nut allergies.
“My son was born in 1990 so that wasn't around then,” said Vaca.“A lot of people don't know about this.”
Although her bill didn't pass, Vaca still will advocate and educate parents on treatment options like Oral Immunotherapy, and she vows to fight to pass the bill in 2019.