Food Allergy Treatment
Unfortunately, there are no real cures for food allergies. Some preliminary tests have found that children given teeny oral doses of milk or peanut can build up a resistance, in a similar way to how immunotherapy works, but this is still considered experimental. Currently, immunotherapy shots or allergy drops are not recommended for food allergies. Your best treatment is avoidance.
Even with the most diligent parents, avoidance is not 100% protection. One of my patients was a five-year-old boy named Timmy. He was allergic to peanuts, and his mother was always careful and hyper vigilant. But one day she took Timmy to an ice cream shop and ordered him a sundae specifying no nuts. After his second spoonful, Timmy said, “Mommy, I don’t feel good.” He began to break out in hives all over his body and was wheezing loudly. She quickly checked the sundae and saw bottom Reese’s Pieces at the bottom, which contain peanuts. She raced him to the nearest hospital, where I met them. He immediately received a dose of adrenalin and his symptoms subsided.
Avoidance means that parents and the patients themselves have to be careful about what they eat.
- read labels for ingredients in packaged foods
- avoid processed foods when possible
- do not accept or eat foods with unknown content
The tragedies of stories of patients with peanut allergies who died because they ate a food unknowingly containing peanut are too numerous to detail. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network http://www.foodallergy.org/ is a great organization that puts out alerts when a food product has been contaminated with a potential allergen and offers excellent updates of new laws protecting food allergy patients.
If you or your child has a severe food allergy, you should carry injectable epinephrine known as an Epipen or Twin-Jet. This medication can be purchased with a physician’s prescription, and the patient should be shown when and how to use it in the office. If you do need to use it, seek medical attention afterward for observation. If your food allergy is less severe, and you develop hives, for example, you can take an oral antihistamine like Claritin.
The new blood testing technology we use in out NYC and Long Island offices can pinpoint the specific food allergy you are sensitive to. Knowing what the source is and how sensitive you are can help to avoid exposure. To get tested, contact us today.