Braylen Arnold was one of 150 children in the U.S. to be diagnosed with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) last year, which mimics food allergies, so the toddler can’t eat wheat, rice, soy or dairy, The Marietta Times reported.
There is no cure or treatment for kids like Braylen, who is from the Marietta, Pa.-area, and it’s not clear what causes this disorder.
“We have to keep him on a very strict diet,” said Braylen’s mother, Melissa. “He can only have (non-berry) fruit and formula. It's very hard because the older he gets, the more he wants to explore. He’s fighting to have our food.”
When Braylen was 3 months old, his parents fed him rice cereal and he threw up for two hours. His parents didn’t get a diagnosis right away – some doctors said it was the flu; or when it happened again, they said he had been fed too much.
An allergist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio diagnosed Braylen and set up a specialized diet for the toddler
Another side effect to FPIES is that Braylen’s speech is affected, which Melissa attributes to the fact that he doesn’t use his tongue as much as other children.
“He doesn’t have different textures in his mouth like most children do,” Melissa said. “He only eats soft, mush foods and that can affect speech.”
Some doctors say children can grow out of this condition by the age of five.