baffled

Posted on: Sun, 05/26/2002 - 8:42pm
LI-LIAN's picture
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Joined: 05/11/2002 - 09:00

pI have a question that's been bugging me since I've started researching peanut allergies and allergies in general. If our immune system is one and the same and immunotherapy for other allergens (which are generally non-anaphylactic) involves gradually increasing the tolerance levels of the immune system to the allergen, then why is it that with peanut allergies we do the reverse by forbidding any more sensitisation to peanuts with strict avoidance? Are there 2 schools of thought here with regards to treatment of allergies? I recall in the study conducted about resolution of peanut allergies that there was a comment made by the researcher that he seriously doubted that anyone could totally avoid exposure to trace amounts of peanuts because it's pretty much in everything. I guess it's again the comfort level thing. If your child has been anaphylactic (and by this I mean with breathing difficulties and collapse) then you would avoid all the triggers. With lots of parents who've had their children first diagnosed, often the reaction is hives/facial swelling - not anaphylaxis. I know that allergists all over say strict avoidance is the key (and give lots of parents angst as a result) but is there room for a case for the 'building up a tolerance' level for peanut allergies for milder cases? I know that for me I haven't been as strict with my daughter food wise - she's allowed to eat things with warnings of 'may contains' - with no reactions thus far. I may change my tune when she starts reacting but so far that's my comfort zone. Could it be that some just outgrow it regardless and others will keep it for life? I guess we will never know till more light is shed on the workings of the immune system./p

Posted on: Sun, 05/26/2002 - 11:34pm
LJG's picture
LJG
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Joined: 05/23/2002 - 09:00

Perhaps it is the possibility of a life-threatening reaction which forbids that sort of treatment option. An allergy to pollens, for example, causes a relatively small number of mast cells to release histamine and other chemicals...so the result is itchy eyes, runny nose....irritating but not dangerous. But if even a tiny amount of the offending food is introduced, mast cells in different parts of the body are activated, causing a devastating anaphylactic reaction.
This is a hot area for the immunologists. It'll be interesting to see what sort of advances are made in understanding and treatment in the future.

Posted on: Mon, 05/27/2002 - 5:15am
Anna's picture
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Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

Just a quick comment. The researcher who claimed that it isn't possible to avoid traces was very likely overstating the case. Peanuts aren't in everything one might eat, unless of course he assumes that people cannot live without processed and pre-packaged foods. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
This reminds me of people who say "You can't live in a bubble!"

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