TAMPA — Nearly 17 million people across the U.S. have food allergies severe enough to cause serious reactions. But now, a new medication is available to help reduce those symptoms.

In February, the FDA approved asthma medication Xolair as the first-ever drug to reduce food allergy reactions.

“I immediately emailed his doctor and asked if we could start it. Within a week, we had a video phone call with his allergist,” said Dana Kanfer, a Tampa mother whose 17-year-old son has nine different food allergies.

Kanfer said her son was diagnosed with severe food allergies as a baby, and it’s been something she has helped him monitor ever since.

“I do, as a mom, always wonder will this be the day that he uses his AUVI-Q and I get a call that he’s on the way to the hospital,” Kanfer said of her son’s epinephrine injection.

Now, Kanfer said her son will be able to get a prescription for Xolair. With college in the near future, she calls it a relief.

“It will give me a little peace of mind knowing if he accidentally ingests an allergen, it won’t be as big of a problem and we’ll have something else to rely on besides this emergency medication,” Kanfer said.

Xolair is an injection that is taken once a month and can be prescribed to patients as young as one year old.