As the COVID-19 vaccine continues development, many people remain skeptical. But, how about with less viral yet also lethal illnesses like severe reactions to peanut allergies?
If there was a slow but gradual method of eliminating risks of peanut allergies, would you consider it? Further, if your child has peanut allergies, and may even be bullied because of it, is a treatment for full recovery from peanut allergies something you would allow?
Allergens as Treatment for Allergies
A new study from the University of British Columbia found promising findings for children with peanut allergies. According to the study, a small but regular dose of peanuts can help reduce risks of allergic reactions, Science Daily reported.
BC Children's Hospital also participated in the study. Their team of researchers found enlightenment for parents and kids who can be exposed to real dangers caused by peanut allergies.
Dr. Edmond Chan, the senior author of the study and head of the pediatric allergy and immunology at UBC revealed the misconception about peanut allergies. "Many assume it is not a serious health issue. But fatal reactions can happen which can lead to a major impact on the life of the child and the family."
This is the first study of its kind that exposed children to their allergens in a real-world setting. 117 preschool children ages 9 months to 5 years old participated in the study.
The treatment used is called oral immunotherapy. The amount of allergens (in this case, peanuts) is introduced to the child in gradual dosage.
Desensitization is the goal. By then, if the child eats peanuts, it would not trigger any dangerous reaction. Now, immunity may be out of the question. Simply put, if the child is accidentally exposed to peanuts, then harmful reactions will be suppressed.
Constant Exposure to Peanuts
The study further claims that such level of immunity, when achieved, can be sustained. This must be done by eating peanut products continually on a regular basis.
At first, the children had to maintain a dosage of 300mg of peanut product. This is equal to a quarter teaspoon of peanut butter or one whole peanut.
The researchers followed through with the oral immunotherapy method for one year. The results showed that almost 80 percent of the children were able to tolerate up to 4000mg of peanut protein. This is equivalent to 15 peanuts.
Over 98 percent of the children can consume 3-4 peanuts with no reactions. Hence, the researchers claim that oral immunotherapy can provide 99 percent protection from accidental exposures to peanuts.
However, around 21.4 percent of the children experienced mild to moderate reactions. Only in two cases did children need epinephrine after the allergist-supervised treatment. No severe reactions were recorded.
Peanut Allergies Immunity: For How Long with Immunotherapy?
Mimi Tang of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute reveals, "the level of protection of peanut oral immunotherapy fluctuates," Sciencemag reported. She added, "it is neither guaranteed nor constant."
One of the most studied and FDA-approved peanut product for peanut oral immunotherapy is Palforzia, NCBI reported. With no potentially serious allergic reactions or side effects, peanut oral immunotherapy is believed to show improvements to the quality of life of those who struggle with peanut allergies.
The effectiveness of the therapy in short-and long-term continues to be studied. Today, a skin patch is also found to be effective in delivering small amounts of peanut protein.
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