Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Would you get this done for your kids?

Posted by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:13 AM
  • 5 Replies

 

Poll

Question: Would you take your kids to get this?

Options:

Yes

No

Maybe, need to know more information about it.


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 11

View Results

Kids May 'Learn' to Tolerate Food Allergens

  •  

SUNDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors have long used allergy shots to desensitize children and adults to environmental allergens such as bee stings, pollen, mold and dust mites.

Now researchers are trying to apply that theory to food allergies, through processes called oral immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy.

They believe they can build up a child's tolerance for a food that prompts an allergic reaction by exposing the child to tiny amounts of that food.

"It is something that has been recently put into play," said Dr. Michael Pistiner, an allergist in Leominster, Mass., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "More and more of these trials have been started. It does seem to be very promising. It's very exciting."

Trials involving eggs, peanuts and milk have produced positive results, said Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and chairman of the allergy and immunology section for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"The studies are promising in that some individuals are able to get to high doses of the food used in treatment," Sicherer said.

Sublingual immunotherapy works by placing an extract of the food allergen under the child's tongue. The membranes of the mouth absorb trace amounts of the allergen, absorbing just enough to desensitize the immune system without prompting an allergic reaction.

Oral immunotherapy takes it a step further by having children eat tiny amounts of the allergen. "The approach involves ingesting an extremely small and then gradually increasing amount of the food under medical supervision, with the hope of getting to an amount that is not causing reactions and is more substantial in dose," Sicherer said.

However, both Sicherer and Pistiner warn that these therapies are still in the experimental stage, and many questions remain.

"All of the experts working in this treatment currently believe it is too early to attempt widespread use and that much more needs to be done to see if this is a viable treatment," Sicherer said.

For one thing, there's still a risk of severe allergic reaction prompted by even the tiny amounts used in immunotherapy.

"People have significant reactions trying to do this, including anaphylaxis, and not all can move ahead with dosing," Sicherer said.

Researchers also are not sure how deeply ingrained the tolerance becomes in a child undergoing oral or sublingual immunotherapy.

"Is there ever a time you can stop taking it, or does it only work as long as you're taking your maintenance dose?" Pistiner asked. "Does it give you complete ability to eat that food, or does it only help prevent reactions when trace amounts of the foods are consumed?"

For example, if you're allergic to pine nuts, will immunotherapy allow you to eat pine nuts as you like, or will it only prevent you from having an allergic reaction when you eat a food processed on equipment that also processes pine nuts?

The doctors agree on one other point: This is absolutely not something a person should try at home.

The amounts of food given allergic children are measured out precisely, and delivered under the watchful eyes of doctors ready to step in and treat any side effects or allergic reactions at a moment's notice.

"This is an experimental therapy that should only be undertaken under the direction of a trained allergist," Pistiner said. "Doing this at home is absolutely not safe."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more on food allergies.

by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:13 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-5):
Charbear76
by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Considering that my daughter's allergy to walnuts is not severe, I think I would want to try this. Right now if she eats a walnut or even something that has walnut dust on it, she says it tastes spicy and little hives break out around her mouth. So seeing that her reaction isn't terribly severe I think this would probably work for her. And my hope would be that her allergy doesn't worsen and instead, at the very least, becomes more immune to it. However, for children for severe allergic reactions, I don't think this would be a good idea or at least more research would need to be done before trying it.

 

atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:52 AM

I never had any super severe allergies but I was sick a LOT.  3 years of shots worked for me.  Luckily my daughter doesn't have any food allergies, like me, but did inherit a lot of other allergies.  She wasn't a candidate for shots.  Her only severe allergy is horses and she stays clear of them now. 

KalebsMommee
by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:58 AM

If my son was mildly allergic to something i'd definately try something like this.

I'm allergic to peanuts and most other nuts in general as well as things like pollen and dust.. it's not a severe allergy but bad enough to cause me alot of discomfort for as long as i'm in contact with it and shoot I wish something like that would have been done when I was younger.

Domzmom2005
by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 11:58 AM

If my kids were allergic to something and if it was done correctly I might consider it.

pregnancy week by week

baby

writeon
by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 12:02 PM

My dd was allergic to strawberries and got hives but she loved them so much she just kept eating them anyway. Eventually she must have built up an immunity because one day she stopped getting hives and never got them again. 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)