Can Food Allergy Desensitization Prevent Allergic Reactions?
The unpredictability of allergic reactions means food allergy treatments are in constant demand. With the potential threat of anaphylaxis, Atlanta parents naturally want a treatment that will protect their children. Sadly, there are currently no cures for food allergies, but there’s a “next best thing” called food allergy desensitization. So just how effective is food allergy desensitization at preventing allergic reactions?
How Effective Is Food Allergy Desensitization?
The process for desensitizing the immune system to the presence of allergens is called oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT). Many studies into the effectiveness of OIT have been done, looking at different age groups and types of food.
One study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology focused on peanut allergies in children aged 1 to 16. The results conclusively showed that OIT led to desensitization in most subjects – 16 out of 19 children were able to safely consume 20 peanuts after a year of OIT.
For those unsure of just what food desensitization is, it’s a process that requires patients to consume the allergic food in incremental doses until tolerance has been achieved. A further study followed this approach for eggs, milk and fish with patients aged 3 to 55. Here, the results showed that 83.3% of patients successfully completed the 18-month trial with only mild side effects.
What Are the Alternatives to Food Allergy Desensitization?
The main alternative food allergy treatments are avoidance, antihistamines and epinephrine. An avoidance diet is helpful in preventing contact with the allergen, but it can be difficult to follow. Avoidance means not eating, inhaling or even touching small traces of the food. In practice, this approach requires discipline and frequent sacrifices.
Antihistamines are mainly used to treat a mild reaction, helping to provide some relief. While antihistamines can certainly reduce symptoms, they will not offer long-term relief. Similarly, epinephrine is vital when dealing with anaphylaxis, and in case of these emergencies, the recommendation is for individuals to carry an epinephrine auto-injector at all times. While this helpful medication is intended to treat the onset of a severe allergic reaction, it does not treat the allergy directly.
Is Food Allergy Desensitization Always the Best Option?
If your goal is to continue eating the food that is causing allergic reactions, oral immunotherapy treatment is the best option available. Studies have consistently shown that following treatment, the majority of participants can reintroduce the problem food back into their diet. In some cases, OIT might not be appropriate, but this can be determined after a consultation with your allergist. As Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center’s many success stories can attest, OIT offers the chance to live without fear of severe allergic reactions.
Get Help With Food Allergy Desensitization Treatment
Are you trying to overcome a food allergy? We can help with oral immunotherapy and other allergy treatments from our Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek locations. Call (678) 668-4688 or request help online.
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