With allergy rates growing in Atlanta and across the United States, the demand for effective food allergy treatments has increased in recent years. With the ever-present threat of a severe reaction, many children and parents are frustrated or fearful of relying on an avoidance approach. Consequently, as interest in desensitization treatments has grown, many people in Atlanta are turning to the specialists at Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center for advice.
Is Desensitization an Effective Treatment for a Food Allergy?
While desensitization is not a new approach, advancements in the treatment have made it a viable option for food allergy sufferers today. The process is called oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT), and a small number of allergists in Georgia have the expertise to offer it to patients.
There are many OIT studies conducted with adults and children around the world. One study found that 83.3% of patients successfully completed the treatment, while another study focusing on peanut desensitization ended with 79% of patients reaching a maintenance level. Actually, OIT cannot be considered a cure – no food allergy cures currently exist – but a successful outcome allows a patient to continue consuming the food with minimal threat of an allergic reaction.
What Is the Food Allergy Desensitization Process?
As shown in our food allergy desensitization infographic, the process involves building tolerance to a specific allergen. A patient begins the process with a small amount of the allergic food under the careful supervision of an allergist. Over time, the immune system is retrained to stop reacting to an allergen through gradually increasing consumption of the specific food.
What Results Can Patients Expect From Food Allergy Desensitization?
OIT has been shown to work for a range of foods, including peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk and wheat. Patients who complete the treatment successfully can continue to tolerate eating the particular food without an allergic response. Commonly, these individuals will need to consume a maintenance dose to remain desensitized.
In some cases, patients are unable to reach the full maintenance dose due to side effects. However, by increasing their tolerance levels they can improve their quality of life and prevent allergic reactions from limited allergen contact.
Unfortunately, a small percentage of patients won’t be able to continue with the oral immunotherapy treatment process. During the initial build-up phase, your allergist will monitor reactions to small doses and ensure you are safe throughout. If there are any side effects it may not be possible to continue, and an alternative treatment plan will be explored.
Food Allergy Desensitization Treatment in Atlanta
If you experience allergic reactions after eating food, you might like to consider desensitization. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center has leading allergists/immunologists providing immunotherapy and other treatments from clinics in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. For an appointment, call (678) 668-4688 or request help online.
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