So you have food allergies. Your only option is to avoid them, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to a relatively new treatment for food allergies known as sublingual immunotherapy, food allergy sufferers are able to eat more of the foods they love without fear of repercussions for their health.
The food allergy treatment program is known as sublingual immunotherapy. It starts with an allergy serum or antigen just as allergy shots do. (Allergy shots are another form of immunotherapy.) Instead of being injected into the skin, though, the antigen is dispensed as droplets under the tongue. The antigen absorbs into the blood stream through specialized cells in the mouth. Over time, the antigen can desensitize the body to food proteins so that it will stop overreacting to them. As the treatment progresses, your body can begin to tolerate more of the foods that once made it miserable.
The symptoms of food allergy can range from irritating to downright dangerous. Common symptoms include:
- Hives or eczema
- Gastrointestinal distress (gas, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps)
- Life-threatening anaphylaxis (commonly associated with peanut allergy)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (inflamed esophagus, manifests with reflux-like symptoms)
- Itching or swelling of the mouth, throat, or lips
- Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
- Hay fever
Many people with a tendency toward food allergy react to more than one type of food, making avoidance tricky. If your allergies are triggered by staples such as wheat and dairy, for example, your eating habits will be severely limited. Sublingual immunotherapy may be particularly attractive to people with multiple food allergies.
Sublingual immunotherapy can help with milk and wheat allergy treatment as well as remediation for dozens of other food allergies, including eggs, fruits, vegetables, rice, and soy. The allergy drops can be prescribed by a physician and should be taken daily under the tongue.
To find out if you have food allergies, talk to your doctor. He or she can assess your medical history and use a food allergy test kit to measure your reaction to the most common food allergens.