If you have a food allergy, you’re not alone. Food allergies affect 15 million Americans. And that rate has been increasing. Food allergies are no laughing matter, for some, they are life-threatening. About 150 Americans, usually adolescents and young adults, die annually from anaphylaxis brought on by a food allergy. The traditional approach to food allergies is to avoid the food you’re allergic to, and keeping medication around in case there’s an emergency. But there is an alternative approach that is becoming more common: Oral immunotherapy.
What is Oral Immunotherapy?
Oral immunotherapy also known as desensitization, is, under careful supervision of your allergist, to cautiously receive small doses of the food you’re allergic to. The initial dose is very small and, therefore, not likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Over time, the dose is slowly increased. This desensitizes, or slowly prompts the immune system to tolerate the food so, eventually, it doesn’t cause a reaction. Because this is done in an allergist’s office, it is carefully monitored and if any reaction happens, medical professionals can quickly treat it.
When Is Desensitization Used?
Immunotherapy can be used for a number of food allergies from peanuts, tree nuts to cow’s milk and eggs. Undergoing desensitization can significantly improve your quality of life if you have a food allergy. If the food allergy is severe, the worry of not knowing if you may be accidently exposed can put a lot of stress on the whole family.
If you or a someone you know has a food allergy, oral immunotherapy may bring you freedom from food fear and stress. At Advanced Specialty Care, we have a food allergy desensitization program for peanuts and tree nuts and may be adding additional foods in the future. Visit an allergist at Advanced Allergy and Asthma and find out if this can help you. Our offices are located in the Fairfield County towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.