Dealing with Food Allergies
If you or have allergies to food, you know how scary a reaction can be. You’ll need to have bloodwork done or observe an elimination diet to identify your allergen foods. You’ll need to carry a dose of rescue medication just in case you accidentally become exposed to the allergen. You need to read labels and be very careful about where you eat if you eat out. You also have to be hypervigilant about food preparation in your home. Allergies to foods such as nuts, wheat, and dairy can impact your quality of life or that of your child. Even with these precautions taken, you or your loved one may still have a severe reaction to a specific food.
Some of the unique foods that frequently cause allergies include nuts, dairy products, eggs, soy, and wheat-based foods. The symptoms of allergic reactions to food include itching on the body, eczema, stomach pain and hives. If you have a severe food allergy, you’ll have more serious symptoms like problems breathing, blue skin, chest pain and problems swallowing. In extreme cases of allergies to food, you may quit breathing altogether, so the allergy becomes life-threatening. As you can see from these symptoms, an allergy to specific foods is not a joke. Instead of merely trying to avoid your food allergens and possibly having an unexpected allergy attack, look into the latest treatment for food allergies, called Oral Immunotherapy.
Oral Immunotherapy Treatment for Allergies to Food
The latest treatment for food allergies is Oral Immunotherapy or OIT. OIT remains a new, breakthrough way of building up the body’s immune system and eliminating the food allergy, rather than trying to avoid an allergen and taking the risk of accidental exposure. To date, OIT has unprecedented successful results for many of the patients who don’t want the hassle and danger of dealing with food allergens. The goal of OIT therapy remains that a person may safely eat their allergen food by the end of treatment.
More about OIT
The amount of time it takes to become allergy-free from food using OIT varies from patient to patient. As with all treatments, the amount of time the process takes varies from patient to patient. In general, however, individuals who are receiving OIT complete their procedures in about six months. You must be committed to following your allergist’s instructions completely. At the beginning of treatment, you’ll take regular dosage of a specially formulated food solution that gets gradually stronger with continuing therapy. By the completion of your therapy, you’ll be able to safely eat the food that previously caused you an allergic reaction. Please continue to take your current allergy medications until your doctor advises you to discontinue them.
Usually, you can start eating small amounts of the whole allergen food beginning during the second or third month of therapy. Your dosages of food solution and the amount of real food you eat starts low and gradually increases about once a week. These dosages of your allergic food are consumed in the morning and at about 24-hour intervals. Your doctor may suggest not to take your allergy food dose on the day of an office visit, however.
It remains possible to have an allergic reaction during OIT therapy. You and your allergist develop a plan of action in case you have such a response, so you’ll know your allergist’s instructions. Don’t substitute foods or increasing amounts of food during the OIT treatment program process. Also, it is crucial to keep your food solution refrigerated, as it contains no preservatives. Don’t leave your food solution out of the refrigerator for more than 30 minutes. Also, if it smells different or bad, don’t take that dose. Instead, contact your allergist’s clinic for more food solution. Because the solution needs constant refrigeration, it can’t be shipped via the mail.
Do You Have More than One Food Allergy?
Once you’ve treated one type of allergy to food using Oral Immunotherapy, you can begin to work on treating another allergy. You should discuss how to deal with more than one allergy with your allergist. In many cases, you can start therapy on your next food allergy about one week after completion of OIT for the initial allergy has been treated. Plus, health insurance often covers at least a part of Oral Immunotherapy treatments.
Matt is a writer and a part of the Tanner Clinic team. He covers a wide range of health topics and is always discovering new ways to promote living a healthy lifestyle. When he’s not writing, you can find him in the mountains no matter the season.
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