The peanut treatment is called oral immunotherapy — also known as exposure therapy. In this approach, peanut-allergic children are given very tiny amounts of peanut allergen as directed by a doctor. Over time, these small amounts of the allergen are thought to lessen the body’s reaction to it.
The study’s senior author Dr. Edmond Chan said, “There’s a common misperception about peanut allergies–that it’s not a serious health issue. Although the risk of a fatal reaction to peanuts is low in patients with peanut allergy, it has a major impact on the quality of life and many families feel hopeless in dealing with what can seem like an unmanageable problem.” The study’s lead author Dr. Lianne Soller said, “Now, thanks to oral immunotherapy, these kids can accidentally eat something with peanut butter in it–like a cookie or cake–and not suffer a reaction, which is wonderful news for the families.”
Ravinder Dhaliwal said, “Before starting therapy, our lives were filled with anxiety because every outing revolved around her food allergies. Now, we can go to a restaurant or a birthday party without being in constant fear.” “Having gone through oral immunotherapy, I don’t feel scared anymore–it’s like having a shield to protect my child. The experience has been empowering for all of us.” The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid peanuts and peanut products altogether. But peanuts are common, and despite your best efforts, you’re likely to come into contact with peanuts at some point. For a severe allergic reaction, you may need an emergency injection of epinephrine and to visit the emergency room.