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A peanut allergy is acquired by an individual during their lifetime and can be of two types:
- IgE mediated
- Non-IgE mediated
The incidence of the IgE-mediated type has been increasing since 2002. The non-IgE mediated type is characterized by the more common symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea rather than hives or anaphylaxis. Furthermore, this form is not linked to any other allergenic grains, such as wheat or milk. In contrast, the IgE type may exhibit rare but severe allergic reactions that are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention (FDA, 2020).
According to a Philadelphia-based ENT doctor here, children with a strong family history of peanut allergy have a greater risk of developing it themselves.
What Is Peanut Allergy?
Peanut allergy is a food allergy in which the body’s immune system reacts adversely to peanuts. This can lead to serious or life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis. Most people with peanut allergies are not allergic to other legumes such as soybeans or chickpeas. Peanut allergy is the most common cause of food allergy among children. About 12 percent of U.S. children have this type of food allergy. Although it was previous thought that peanut allergy was lifelong, study has indicated up to 20 percent of patients with a peanut allergy eventually outgrow it.
According to FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only licensed medication for peanut allergy as a food allergy (FDA, 2020). Currently, other therapeutic methods, such as peanut oral immunotherapy, are being employed to increase a person’s tolerance to the peanut protein. However, these methods are not FDA-approved.
Symptoms of a Peanut Allergy
The symptoms of a peanut allergy can vary, but usually, the most common are an itchy mouth, hives, and skin reactions. A doctor will prescribe oral antihistamines or steroids to alleviate the reaction and keep it under control.
People with a peanut allergy should avoid eating peanuts completely during this healing period. During this period, people with peanut allergies should avoid contact with others who may have eaten peanuts and stay away from places where people might be likely to consume peanuts (such as schools). Most allergic reactions can be treated effectively with medication like antihistamines if they are caught early enough.
New Development on Peanut Allergy Treatment.
Many people with peanut allergies have found relief by undergoing immunotherapy, a treatment that desensitizes the immune system and reduces the risk of potential allergic reactions. This treatment is only given to close family members; it poses a health risk for allergy sufferers who don’t have this familial connection (Henderson, 2021). Now, a group of researchers is looking to develop a safe and effective vaccine-based approach to the problem.
In recent years, research focused on immunotherapy and vaccines has led to significant improvements in allergies and treatments for other allergy-related conditions like asthma. Vaccines prevent people from ever becoming allergic, while immunotherapies or desensitizing agents help stabilize or reduce hypersensitivity reactions. These treatments are most commonly administered via injection but are sometimes delivered orally, especially in children with severe allergies.
On December 15th, 2018, the FDA gave the go-ahead for a medicine called EpiPen (or Epinephrine injection) with an accompanying epinephrine autoinjector (e-pipen) (FDA, 2020). This new product provides a quick and immediate treatment for anaphylactic reactions, which is a severe allergic responses that can cause death if not promptly treated.
Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergies Is Quite Effective For Infants under One Year.
Research conducted by UBC in 2019 indicated that preschoolers might safely overcome peanut allergies with oral immunotherapy treatment.
Oral immunotherapy is a clinical procedure in which a patient progressively increases the dose of the allergenic food—in this example, peanut flour—to a predetermined maximum quantity. The objective is for the patient to get desensitized to the point when they can consume a complete meal of peanut protein without experiencing any negative side effects. The children must regularly consume peanut-based items for the foreseeable future to maintain their immunity (COUZIN-FRANKEL, 2018).
Scientists Have Discovered Key Immunological Changes That Support Peanut Allergy Remission In Kids.
In order to create new, more focused therapies, Australian schoolers have identified the essential immunological adjustments that enable the lessening of peanut allergy in kids. The study revealed for the first time that certain gene networks are rewired to promote the modification from peanut allergy to treatment outcomes after a combination of probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy (Henderson, 2021). According to the study, this network remodeling effectively shuts down the immune system’s allergic reaction, which causes food allergies (Henderson, 2021).
The study discovered significant changes in network connection patterns between allergic and allergy-free youngsters. When researchers analyzed gene networks in children who had received immunotherapy and had gone into remission, they saw the same modifications.
Contrary To Earlier Theories, Immune Cells Are Significantly More Important In The Development Of Allergies.
The Malaghan Institute has made a groundbreaking finding that sheds new light on skin immune cells and suggests they may be more involved in the development of allergies than previously assumed (Henderson, 2021). The finding challenges the conventional wisdom that immune cells function consistently across the body, which has profound consequences for allergy and inflammatory diseases.
Technology advancements have been a major factor in this transition, with recent developments in analytical methods allowing researchers to identify the little but substantial variances between cells of the same kind. These minute variations might not seem like much to most people, but they could greatly impact the development of allergies.
The revelation, however, is more than simply a theoretical novelty; it has important and urgent consequences for understanding why allergic diseases are frequently associated with the skin. This discovery plays a huge role in developing peanut allergy medication and vaccines.
Clinical Trial Indicate Supporting Outcomes With Fecal Microbiota Transplants For Peanut-Allergic Patients.
Anaphylactic responses from peanut allergies can be lethal or very close to becoming fatal. However, according to a groundbreaking clinical experiment at Boston Children’s Hospital, Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy, non-allergic donors have been shown to enable some extremely allergic young persons to safely ingest modest amounts of peanut (COUZIN-FRANKEL, 2018).
The FMT therapy is created using feces samples given by healthy, allergy-free volunteers and given as frozen capsules. The discovery shows that some trial participants are able to eat more than two peanuts before experiencing an allergic reaction, even though they had previously only been able to tolerate less than half a peanut.