Peanut allergies are one of the leading causes of severe allergic reactions in both adults and children. Fortunately, Atlanta allergists have several peanut allergy treatment options to relieve uncomfortable symptoms such as skin hives, itching and shortness of breath. As a response, oral immunotherapy (OIT) stands out for its ability to prevent allergic reactions. OIT is an allergy desensitization treatment that helps the immune system build tolerance to an allergen. But is OIT really the best option for a peanut allergy?
Why Oral Immunotherapy Might Be the Best Peanut Allergy Treatment
Using a process of gradual desensitization, OIT is an effective therapy for peanut allergies. Patients receive increasing amounts of peanut protein over a sustained period of months until the immune system builds tolerance.
For many patients OIT reduces the risk of accidental exposure, and even allows them to consume peanuts without experiencing an allergic reaction. While the treatment does require a greater commitment than alternative treatments, the ability to live without concerns about peanut exposure has enormous benefits.
How Effective Is Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergies?
For patients who complete the process OIT is quite effective in reducing sensitivity to peanuts. The levels of peanut protein that people can tolerate will vary, yet significant increases in immune system tolerance will reduce the chances of experiencing severe peanut allergy symptoms.
Data published by Springer Nature identified that 79% of children in a peanut OIT study reached the target maintenance dose. With many studies backing the effectiveness of the treatment, a substantial proportion of patients who undergo OIT will see the benefits.
Is Oral Immunotherapy Suitable for Everyone?
While many people do successfully desensitize their immune systems to peanuts, others will drop out before treatment is complete, and in some cases OIT will not be suitable for a patient. Your allergy doctor will need to assess the various risk factors and identify if consuming small amounts of peanuts will pose a risk.
In addition to the possible health risks, OIT does require an ongoing commitment of several months and often over a year. Parents of children with allergies will need to maintain the schedule of daily peanut consumption and occasional checkups at their allergist’s office.
Personalized Treatments for Peanut Allergies
While oral immunotherapy treatment is the best peanut allergy therapy for many, others will indeed require an alternative approach. A consultation with your allergist can lead to a personalized allergy treatment plan, one that suits your or your child’s needs. Alternative methods could include avoiding peanuts and peanut-containing products, using targeted medications like antihistamines, even carrying an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylaxis.
Atlanta Oral Immunotherapy Doctor for Peanut Allergies
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