About Author

DR. SAKINA BAJOWALA
“I believe in empowering patients to optimize health by teaching them to understand how their bodies work.”

Dr. Sakina Bajowala has been practicing in the Fox River Valley since completing her extensive training in allergy and immunology. As an allergy sufferer herself, she has a unique ability to identify with her patients and assist them in developing a comprehensive plan to control their most troublesome symptoms.

Dr. Sakina Bajowala has been practicing in the Fox River Valley since completing her extensive training in allergy and immunology. As an allergy sufferer herself, she has a unique ability to identify with her patients and assist them in developing a comprehensive plan to control their most troublesome symptoms.

Dr. Bajowala has presented at national and state conferences, and has designed research investigating the interplay of allergic and gastrointestinal diseases.

Undergraduate: A.B. – University of Chicago, 1999
Medical: M.D. – Rush Medical College, 2003
Residency: Pediatrics – University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, 2006
Fellowship: Allergy and Immunology – Rush University Medical Center, 2008

Certified to the Highest National Standards by
American Board of Pediatrics, 2006
American Board of Allergy & Immunology, 2008

Medical Society Memberships
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Illinois Society of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Hospital Affiliations
Sherman Hospital – Elgin, IL

Dr. Sakina Bajowala and her team are committed to providing the highest quality allergy, asthma & immunology care for your entire family.
This site was created as a resource for both our patients and the larger community.  You will find here an overview of Dr. Bajowala’s unique treatment philosophy, valuable health information, and answers to frequently asked questions about our practice.

If you require additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office.  We are eager to make your experience with Kaneland Allergy & Asthma Center a pleasant one.

OTHER BOOKS BY JEREMY SEVEN:

Online Learning Center

DR. BAJOWALA’S VIDEOS

The Food Allergy Fix: An Integrative and Evidence-Based Approach to Food Allergen Desensitization

A sneak peek into the book

Food Allergy Fix
Introduction

Attending a Chicago Cubs baseball game is a dream come true for a seven-year-old baseball fan living near the Windy City. But when you’re a seven-year-old baseball fan with a peanut allergy, Wrigley Field isn’t just “The Friendly Confines” in which to enjoy America’s favorite pastime—it’s also a potential minefield of dangerous peanut residue.

Charlie is that seven-year old. He sits in front of me today, grinning from ear-to-ear because he knows he will soon be watching his beloved Cubbies LIVE IN ACTION! He keeps wiggling while sitting on the exam table, unable to contain his excitement. Across the room, Charlie’s mother rapidly taps her fingers together, her anticipation tempered by a twinge of anxiety. Today is Charlie’s food allergen desensitization graduation, a milestone that’s been in the works since he first stepped foot into my office over a year ago.

Part One

The Food Allergy Fix
Introduction

Before he visited my clinic, Charlie had been rushed to the emergency room multiple times due to accidental peanut exposure. So, it seems nothing short of a miracle that today, he will eat twenty-four peanuts in my office! How can this be? Well, Charlie has been pursuing a program of oral immunotherapy (OIT) to gradually increase his tolerance to peanuts. After today’s medically supervised graduation is complete, he will be able to eat peanuts and walk confidently into “peanuty” situations, instead of avoiding them entirely. This is no small feat, considering the restrictive lifestyle Charlie was leading before therapy.

Until he began treatment, Charlie’s parents took a commonly-advised approach to handling his peanut allergy: strict avoidance. Did it keep Charlie safe? Sure, but it also led to lifestyle limitations for both him and his family. There were school activities he could not participate in, places he could not go. Grocery shopping was ominous: Would they miss something on a label? Birthday parties and eating out felt dangerous, rather than fun. And a Cubs game? Out of the question. It was simply too anxiety-provoking.

The long road from avoidance to tolerance ends today! Charlie’s exam room is filled with balloons and homemade signs, and my medical assistants poke their heads in the door as they walk past to offer their congratulations. In the corner sits a basket of peanut M&M’s and Reese’s candies next to an ENORMOUS golden trophy in the shape of (you guessed it!) a peanut. To say Charlie and his family are ready for this day is an understatement—his freedom has been a long time coming, and they can taste it.

Reviews

ADVANCE PRAISE

what authors are saying...

“Dr. Bajowala tackles a complex therapy with wisdom, thoroughness, and clarity. A must-read for anyone considering immunotherapy for food allergies.”

– Henry Ehrlich, editor asthmaallergieschildren.com; author Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure

what doctors are saying...

 “Dr. Bajowala’s first person account of her experiences bringing an exciting new food allergy treatment to her patients will engage everyone in the food allergy community; patients and parents, primary healthcare providers and allergists. Her experiences will be reassuring to families considering embarking on food therapy and allergists who are thinking about offering this life-changing therapy to their patients.”

– Richard Wasserman, M.D. Ph.D.

what advocates are saying...

“Adored by her patients, esteemed by her colleagues, guiding us with grace and unyielding integrity, “Dr. B” has been answering our OIT questions since 2012, culminating in this perfectly-timed and timeless book. The world is ready for this resource that could very well be a lifeline for millions.”
–  Liseetsa Mann, founder of OIT Works, Inc.

what patients are saying...

“Dr. Bajowala is awesome! We found her because of my son’s conditions of FPIES, EoE, and multiple food allergies and have been blown away by her level of care. We drive over an hour one way each time we see her, and it is worth it. She takes her time with us, answers all our questions (multiple times) and always has a clear plan for us. We feel that she really cares about us and I could not feel luckier that she is on my son’s side. I highly recommend her!”

patient stories...

“My daughter had one reaction to cashews when she was 4 1/2 years old. She is now 11. She has had no other reactions. We have stayed away from all tree nuts because that is what we were told. I did so much reading and listening to other people’s stories about their journeys, especially the OIT families. I looked back into my daughter’s allergy testing and realized that she was negative to a few of the tree nuts, but we avoided them because that is what we were told. At the time of my daughter’s reaction, that was the protocol.

Our Allergist retired, and I had not found one locally I liked yet. I decided to make an appointment with Dr. B and look more into if our daughter would be a candidate for OIT. Dr. B has a different philosophy and that was the turning point for us. She believed the same thing that I had wondered for so long. Why were we avoiding all tree nuts if my daughter is not allergic to them all? She did bloodwork. She listened to what we wanted for our daughter. She listened to how the allergies affect our family. She looked at the spreadsheets I made of all the test results she had ever had done. She analyzed them, and questioned the same things I had been questioning about them for months. I cannot explain how many nights I was up reading through research articles and statistics and on and on.

She listened to how I do not like my daughter on so many asthma medications. My daughter’s environmental allergies are so bad. We had great discussions during our visit, and I felt she had understood who we were and. I did really like our Allergist that retired, but I always felt that he didn’t truly understand the impact a food allergy has on a family. I have four kids, and it really does impact our whole family and the way we all live. We have found an Allergist near us (Dr. B was a 2 hour drive,) that has agreed to help us continue with this different philosophy of not avoiding all tree nuts.

Dr. B told us if you want her asthma medications to decrease, she needs allergy shots. We started those last summer, and my daughter has just reached maintenance in her allergy shots. The allergy shots have helped, although it is too soon to know how much they will continue to help her. She has been able to go down with her antihistamines and asthma medication all ready. In previous years, even with tons of antihistamines, she was still miserable. Her seasonal allergies were terrible from the first bloom of the year until the first frost of winter.

Dr. B believed that my daughter is truly only allergic to cashews and pistachios, and we have been avoiding all of them unnecessarily. We are strict avoidance. We do not go to restaurants at all, and are super strict with the food she eats. Unless we make it, or have seen all the labels of all the ingredients, she does not eat it. She said that we are more than welcome to do OIT for cashews/pistachios, but those are the easiest to avoid because they are the most expensive. Often, they are never used as a nut filler in foods because they are too expensive. She said that IF we did all the food challenges that she recommends, and IF she really is only allergic to cashews and pistachios, she felt we would have a greater increase in her quality of life after all of that, than we would have if we did OIT for cashews/pistachios. Clearly everyone knows the huge undertaking that OIT is for a family. She said that if it is only cashews/pistachios her diet could be way more open than we allow it to be now. We could go to restaurants and go to places that do not have those nuts there. She said the freedom that we might feel after that part of the journey, might be enough where we do not feel the need to do OIT for cashews/pistachios.

She explained how some of my daughter’s testing is really not positive for the food protein, but rather her super high tree pollen coming through. The protein in peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts are super close to tree pollen. My daughter is through the roof allergic to trees, and her body was mistaking those tree nuts as tree pollen, possibly. We have spent the last 15 months testing that theory with our local Allergist, and we have great news. We have completed food challenges to sesame, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts. She is safely eating all of these. We have one more food challenge ahead of us. We just met with our local allergist this week, and my daughter’s component test for hazelnut looks very promising that she will pass the challenge. Her highest number was the protein that is associated with tree pollen. We have that food challenge scheduled the end of summer. If she passes that, our local Allergist believes that we can really change the way we/she lives our/her lives. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. I am trying to not get too excited because we still have hazelnut to check off the list. If she passes that, then we have all the major tree nuts done. We have not food challenged brazil nuts, pine nuts, and chestnuts. We do not eat those. Our local Allergist said statistically if we do this hazelnut challenge, he would be comfortable with us not avoiding shared facilities. That would mean I wouldn’t have to be calling companies constantly, like I do now. He said that if we go to a bakery (which she has never been to a bakery,) and the item does not contain cashews/pistachios, he is fine with her having it. This blows my mind, and might take some time for me to get comfortable with that, but I am focusing one step at a time. Our next step is the hazelnut challenge, and then I will go on from there.

Dr. B was the person who first started this conversation with us. She was the one that expanded my thinking and caused me to start pushing the boundaries with our local Allergist, and not just accepting to “avoid all tree nuts.” I will always think highly of her, and have great respect for her and her practice. There is always more to a story, but this is it in a “nut” shell.”

Practice Philosophy

“The most important role of a physician is that of an educator.
I believe in empowering patients to optimize health by teaching them to understand how their bodies work.”