Allergies are one of the most common chronic health conditions, and allergies can affect people of all ages from infancy. A number of things can trigger an allergy, from pollen to food to pet dander. One of the most common food allergies is a peanut allergy.
A peanut allergy is one of the most widespread food allergies in the United States, and it is also the most difficult to outgrow. The best way to stay safe from its possible effects is to be aware of all of the ingredients of the foods you’re eating, including restaurant dishes.
An allergy is an immune-system reaction that happens when the body misinterprets a harmless substance as harmful – in this case, peanuts. When a person with a peanut allergy eats peanuts or food containing peanuts, even a tiny amount can trigger a life-threatening reaction.
How Should I Handle a Peanut Allergy?
An allergy to peanuts can be medically addressed with the following treatments:
Oral immunotherapy (OIT), also referred to as desensitization therapy, can help change the way your immune system responds to an allergen. It is done through controlled daily exposure of the food allergen through the mouth – however, this should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
OIT begins with very low doses of the allergen, slowly increasing it over several months. The increase in dosage is given at weekly intervals. While an oral immunotherapy does not cure you of your allergy, it reduces the risk of severe allergic reactions.
In January 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the use of Palforzia as an oral immunotherapy drug for patients with a peanut allergy. It is not recommended for individuals who also have uncontrolled asthma, and it should not be taken during an allergic reaction.
Antihistamine can treat most minor allergy attacks regardless of the cause. Antihistamines come in several forms to help deliver the medication closer to the source of the allergic reaction or for easier consumption, including pills, nasal sprays, dissolvable tablets, liquids, and eye drops.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may also help in reducing pain and swelling caused by the allergy, particularly after a minor reaction. However, it is always best to consult a doctor before taking any new medication for an allergy, and always follow your doctor’s prescribed recommendations.
Allergy and Asthma Care in Chicagoland
If you are having any kind of allergic-type reaction to a substance, see an allergist as soon as possible. Our medical team here at Oak Brook Allergists are the leading allergy experts in the Chicagoland area, and we can diagnose and treat your condition accurately and fully.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling us at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to being your healthcare partner.