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"Now, I eat five peanuts every day”

Name: Viktor Nordgren
Age: 22 years
What: Peanut allergy that is treated with Xolair.

Viktor Nordgren, photo: Rebecka Uhlin. “I have been allergic for as long as I can remember. Today, I have allergies to peanuts, furry animals and eggs. I had my first serious allergic reaction when I was five years old. I had just made a new friend at kindergarten, and I was going to his house for a party. Our parents hadn’t really discussed my allergies yet, and they had peanut rings at the party, something I had never seen before. I tried some peanut rings, and quickly had a strong allergic reaction.

My throat and mouth started itching, and it soon became hard to breathe. I ran home right away, and my parents used the adrenaline shots we had at home, and then we went straight to hospital. After that, I have had more allergic reactions, but never one as serious as that first one. I am now being given an experimental treatment to get rid of my peanut allergy. I have an injection of a medicine called Xolair once a month in the hospital. After a while, they had me eating a little bit of peanut, and then increased the amount bit by bit.

Now I’m eating five peanuts every day and we are in the process of decreasing the drug dose. This is a huge difference from when I couldn’t even walk into a room where someone was eating peanuts. The idea is to gradually stop taking the medicine altogether, but keep eating peanuts and finally be free of the allergy, or at least feel a whole lot better. So far, I have been doing the treatment for four years. I am really pleased, especially when I’m out travelling and don’t have to tell the crew on the aeroplane. Many don’t understand how serious it is.

One morning when I was in school, a company had been handing out bags of nuts on the metro as a PR thing. When I got to school, nearly everyone had one of those bags. I was forced to go home straight away. Nuts are supposed to be this healthy snack, right, but for someone with a nut allergy, it really isn’t.”

As told to: Fredrik Hedlund, first published in Swedish in Medicinsk Vetenskap No4/2018.