Martina Manning will always remember that life-changing moment when she gave her baby, Reid, some yogurt. Minutes later his face broke out in hives. Doctors soon discovered he had a whole host of allergies.
"I think I cried for quite some time because he was allergic to so many things. It was just scary," said Martina.
It turns out Reid was allergic, not only to yogurt, but nuts, wheat, soy, corn, and dairy.
As he got older, all but one of those allergies went away.
"He would lie in bed crying. Basically, we're talking two or three saying, this stinks, this just stinks. I don't understand why I can't have nuts. Why I just can't be like other kids," says Martina.
Reid isn't alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 13 kids have food allergies with 9,500 hospital visits a year.
The number of cases increases yearly. The most problematic foods: peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish.
World-renowned allergist, Dr. Richard Lockey, says not so fast.
"Absolutely, it's being blown out of proportion. Most people don't have a food allergy, but when they have a food allergy, they get a reaction and the parents are going to witness that reaction," said Dr. Lockey.
So how do you know if it's a reaction? Dr. Lockey says it typically happens within 30 minutes of eating the food and that's when parents need to make a beeline to their doctor's office.
"I can't go through that anymore. I've spent so many years in fear for my child's life,” said Reid’s mom.
Then the game changer: a program that desensitizes some people, like Reid, to peanuts.
"But I was so scared to do it because the thought of taking him and having him eat something that could potentially kill him was very frightening," said Martina.
But after taking that first frightening step, Martina's now giving Reid proper peanut proportions.
His body is slowly getting used to it.
"Our impression is that we are able to make a lot of them tolerant to peanuts and if not completely tolerant, their tolerant to eat one or two or three peanuts and that no longer causes severe reaction," said Dr. Lockey.
Now Reid's just looking forward to eating that first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
"It's miraculous because it changes a child's life. They no longer have to live in fear," said Martina.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that feeding solid foods to very young babies could promote allergies. It also suggests exclusively breastfeeding for as long as possible could have a positive outcome regarding food allergies.