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Allergies Health Center

New Ways to Fight Nut, Milk Allergies

Studies Show Peanut-Rich Diets During Pregnancy and Injection-Free Milk Immunizations May Help
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Peanut Oral Immunotherapy continued...

One person, who developed hives and airway tightening after the full dose, was immediately and successfully treated with epinephrine.

Immune system changes from the start to the end of the study showed growing tolerance to the peanut protein, Nash adds.

The long-term goal is buildup of enough tolerance so the food allergy "goes away," says researcher Wesley Burkes, MD, chairman of the AAAAI program committee and a professor of pediatrics at Duke University, Durham, N.C. He also worked on the study.

"But for now we've shown that even though they have to keep eating the food, the chance of having an accidental allergic reaction is less," he tells WebMD.

More study is under way.

Milk Allergies Studied

Other researchers report that oral immunotherapy also appears to be safe and effective for treating cow's milk allergy in kids.

The study, done at Johns Hopkins, involved 11 young children and teens, aged 6 to 17, with proven milk allergies. They were randomly assigned to receive either escalating doses of milk protein in the form of powder mixed with water, or a placebo drink.

Once they reached a daily dose of 500 milligrams, about the equivalent of two cups of milk, they stayed on that dose for three to four months.

At the end of the study, the researchers gave the kids the 8,140-milligram challenge. Before the treatment, all 11 kids exhibited symptoms after ingesting 40 milligrams of milk protein. In contrast, one participant who finished the course of oral immunotherapy tolerated the entire 8,140 milligrams, the study showed.

"The results are very promising," says Burke, who also worked on this study. "The subset that received the milk powder could tolerate much more milk before they had a reaction by the end of the study."

Waiting Allergies Out

If all else fails, maybe parents can just wait their kids' allergies out. Japanese researchers report that more than 80% of kids with egg, milk, or wheat allergies became tolerant to these foods by their teenage years.

Researchers at the Shiga Medical Center for Children in Moriyama, Shiga, surveyed the parents of schoolchildren who had been diagnosed with allergies to egg, milk, or wheat before age 1.

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