How To Treat A Peanut Allergy

There is no cure for peanut allergy and no therapies that eliminate or reduce the severity of peanut allergy. Current treatments only address the symptoms of an allergic reaction once it has taken place, according to The American Peanut Council.

The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid peanuts and peanut proteins altogether. But peanuts are common, and despite your best efforts, you or your child is likely to come into contact with peanuts at some point.

While most reactions to peanuts are not life-threatening, it's important to be prepared for a severe reaction. For an anaphylactic reaction, an emergency injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) and a trip to the emergency room are necessary.

If your doctor thinks you may be at risk of a severe reaction, you'll probably need to carry injectable epinephrine with you at all times.

Medications, such as antihistamines, may reduce the mild symptoms of peanut allergies. These drugs can be taken after exposure to peanuts to help relieve itching or hives. However, antihistamines are not sufficient to treat severe, life-threatening reactions.

Future of Treatment

Immunotherapy experiments using engineered peanut allergens have been carried out in animals that have been genetically sensitized to peanuts, to see whether the immune response can be ‘dampened’. After mice were treated with a heat-treated bacteria that contained the mutated nut protein, they found that symptoms upon subsequent exposure to nuts were reduced compared with the control mice. In addition, the production of immune markers was less in these mice.

A Duke University study in which severely peanut-allergic children were given small amounts of peanut in increasing amounts to develop immunity, garnered substantial press coverage. A similar Cambridge University study started their subjects on peanut flour and worked their way up to peanuts. Both of these studies reported successful results, however, they were extremely small studies and cannot be considered conclusive. The Duke study involved 33 subjects; the Cambridge study had only four subjects.

Other approaches, which do not include exposure to an allergen, have been tested. One has been trialed involving injecting anti-human IgE (IgE is the main antibody involved in allergic reactions).

Source: BBC News, Duke University
Photo: Max Pixel

Community

More Articles

You might have wondered if small amounts of an ingredient can be added to a food product without being declared on the food’s label. The FDA...

Is it possible to eat your way to a food allergy cure? Scientists think it’s...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Not all oils are created equal. Some oils are high in saturated fats or in trans-fatty acids – not good for general health. Some are partially...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

More Articles

More Articles

What is a peanut allergy? It is a reaction that occurs in the body after eating peanuts or peanut...

For those with severe food allergies, flying can be a stressful process. Here are...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

The reason why some people are affected by allergies while others are not begins in their genes. Allergies are passed down from generation to...

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine...

Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose...

Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)

An important part of peanut allergy awareness was enacted on January 1, 2006...

Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a "type 1 allergy," which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a...

Milk allergies are becoming more common, especially in babies and small children. There is some confusion about what is an allergic reaction and...

Recognizing food allergy in babies or toddlers is not always easy, but there are specific risk factors and signs that parents and other caregivers...

Burlap bags are often used to store and ship coffee beans, potatoes, rice, seeds, nuts, and peanuts. They can be one of the disguised...

People with pollen allergies need to stay away from some foods. If you have allergic rhinitis in the spring or fall, you may not realize that you...

Of course, everyone knows that if you have a peanut allergy that you should avoid peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and foods that...

Eating at a nut-free lunch table in school is a safety precaution that causes some students to feel isolated from their peers. Unfortunately,...