Did you know that National Nut Day was last week? If you or your child is allergic to nuts, you know how frightening a reaction can be. Though some people may react only mildly (with hives, asthma, a tingling sensation in the mouth, gastrointestinal upset), many react with full-blown anaphylaxis. They may stop breathing or pass out or experience a massive drop in blood pressure.
Peanuts tend to produce some of the most severe reactions, but it should be noted that peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They are legumes that have a very similar chemical composition to tree nuts (like walnuts, cashews, macadamias, etc.)
With this being National Nut Day, it’s worth noting that nut/peanut allergies are on the rise. In fact, here in the U.S., peanut allergies tripled between 1997 and 2008. While no one knows exactly why, doctors are hard at work trying to figure out a solution.
A number of studies are underway to desensitize people to peanuts using allergy immunotherapy. With immunotherapy, the body is exposed to traces of peanut proteins until it gradually learns to accept them and stop overreacting to them in ways that lead to troubling symptoms. In these studies, the peanut proteins are ingested (oral immunotherapy) or mixed into a liquid saline solution and dissolved under the tongue (sublingual immunotherapy).
AllergyEasy does not yet offer treatment for peanut allergies, but they do offer sublingual immunotherapy for a variety of fruits and vegetables, rice, wheat, soy, eggs, milk, etc.
Finally, there’s hope beyond simply avoiding allergy-causing foods!