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Peanut Allergies: Progress Made

About 1% of the U.S. population has a peanut allergy. The percentage may seem small, but since reactions can be fatal, finding a way to prevent it is becoming increasingly important. Many schools even ban peanut butter from children's bagged lunches.

That's why this news is so promising. Progress has been made in desensitizing children with peanut allergies using a form of immunotherapy - a common form is allergy shots.

For years, allergists have injected patients with tiny amounts of the allergens that bother them, be it bee stings or pollen, and their bodies have built up a tolerance for them. So when they come in contact with something they are allergic to in the future, their bodies recognize it, and their reaction is next to nothing.

Dr. Scott David Nash from Duke University conducted a study with his team. They decided to try Oral Peanut Immunotherapy. They gave 8 children with known peanut allergies, increasing doses of peanut protein in the form of a flour mixed with applesauce.

The entire test took about 2 years, beginning with trace amounts of peanuts, and working up to eating the equivalent of 1 peanut a day for the last 18 months.

At the end of the study, the 7 children (1 dropped out) who completed it were given a "food challenge" involving 8g of peanut flour, or about 13 peanuts. 5 of the 7 children passed the challenge. This study showed that their immune systems developed a growing tolerance to peanuts.

This is incredible news for people with peanut allergies. The fear they live with, worrying everyday whether or not they'll accidentally touch or eat something containing peanuts is way too agonizing. This gives them some much needed hope.

Join The Conversation
Fitness Fitness 10 years
LilPeaPod - it's recommended that if you have a history of peanut allergies in your family, you should wait to give your child peanut products until they are 3 years old. If there are no allergies, you should wait until they are at least 1 year old.
phonetic phonetic 10 years
This is fantastic! My brother is severely allergic to peanuts, and it really affected our whole family as he was growing up. And you would not believe how many people don't understand how serious it is! No you canNOT use that knife that was just in the peanut butter jar to make my brother's jam sandwich...and no, you can't just rinse it off!
pink_orchid pink_orchid 10 years
we found out my gramma was allergic after her throat closed up one night after eating mixed nuts. it was an allergy that had built over time so we were able to save her as the reaction wasnt fatal that time. the next time it might be so we are a peanut free family. if i hadnt been affected by it i would scoff at this.
kristyrk kristyrk 10 years
Are you supposed to keep babies away from peanuts and stuff when they are growng up? I would think that if you kept them away, that it would make the allergy worse. . Does anyone know?
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
A friend of mine in college was super allergic, and for awhile I am ashamed to admit that I thought she was blowing it out of proportion. One night, I made some PBJ and tossed the PB knife in the dishwater without teling her and when she stuck her hand later to wash the dishes, her whole hand swelled up. Ever since then, I take peanut alergies very seriously. It was scary.
atoxicsparkle atoxicsparkle 10 years
Yeah, this is definitely good news. In the classroom I was student teaching in, we had a student who had peanut allergies. We had to monitor EVERYTHING that came into the classroom. What kids brought for lunch, if there was pb&j on the school lunch menu, what snacks parents brought. We nearly had a heart attack when a parent brought snacks for a party and didn't tell us that one of her cupcake batches had peanuts in them (even after we asked to make sure) and the kid took a bite and looks at us and goes "Uh-oh". In the time it took him to take that bite, say uh-oh, and me rush him down the hall to the nurse, he had horrible hives all over his body and was shallowly breathing. Gah!
Fitness Fitness 10 years
It is scary. When I was in Junior High, one of the kids I went to school with had a peanut allergy, but no one knew. He went to a festival and ate a burrito that was made with peanut oil. His throat closed up and he couldn't breathe. There was nothing anyone could do and he died. It was awful. I'm so glad there is so much awareness about peanut and nut allergies now. If we know about it, then we can prevent reactions from happening.
wiggle wiggle 10 years
This sounds like an urban legend but I know it is true - a woman with a peanut allergy ate come chili at a restaurant and the secret ingredient with peanut butter. She of course had no idea, ate the chili and unfortunately died. this was about 15 years ago, before peanut allergies were so prevalent. But dang - that is scary. I worry that one of my kids is allergic to peanuts. Right now I am just keeping her away from the stuff. So this is good news.
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