Peanut Allergy: Is It Possible to Prevent It?
There are two good pieces of news for those who suffer from peanut allergy. First, the new drug has been developed that could potentially prevent allergy symptoms. Second, researchers have found that peanut intolerance occurs after birth, which means it may be prevented in the first place.
Scientists and allergy experts are excited about these findings, as they may change the parameters of peanut allergy protection, and for many people they might become life-saving.
Peanut allergy is a serious, life-threatening condition that affects thousands of people all over the world. The symptoms these people get after eating even small amounts of peanut or peanut oil, contained in foods, or using the skin products that contain peanut oil, can result in fatal consequences. An allergic reaction to peanuts causes swelling in your lips and throat, hives all over your body, fast heart rate, and difficulty breathing, while the worst part of it is the shocking fear of not being able to keep breathing.
The condition is not treatable. You can relieve the symptoms and save your life with an immediate injection of epinephrine, which is an adrenaline-like medication. But this kind of treatment is not always effective, and it may cause serious side effects. Therefore, the best way to “treat” your allergy is to avoid peanuts and peanut oils, which is also quite challenging, as they found in many foods, drinks, skin products, etc. You should always make sure that whatever you are eating or putting on your skin does not have any traces of peanut. However, it gets even harder, since they are sometimes not even stated on the label.
A New Drug – TNX-901
The new drug called TNX-901 is an artificial antibody that can interfere with an allergy process. It is not a cure of peanut allergy, instead the medication aims to prevent people who already have allergies from maintaining the allergic state. Based on a medium-size trial, the medication has been shown to prevent allergic symptoms in allergic people who ate a small amount of peanut flour, equivalent to 6-8 peanuts. The majority of peanut exposures that happen accidentally, however, are equivalent to eating 1-2 peanuts.
Gathering volunteers (people with peanut allergies) for the trial was quite difficult due to the severity of the allergic symptoms. Eventually, the study involved 84 participants that took different doses of TNX-901 or a placebo and ate some peanut flour. Those who were given the medicine didn’t have allergic symptoms.
Although these results are encouraging, the drug is still on the experimental stage of development, and more research needs to be made to confirm the results.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the medication will be developed anytime soon, since three companies that were involved in the creation of the drug are now in conflict over the rights to develop TNX-901. This is a sad news because experts believe that TNX-901 may provide a new and effective approach to allergy treatment.
Is Peanut Allergy Actually Preventable?
According to research, the number of people allergic to peanuts might significantly decrease in the future.
There have been many different ideas about the development of peanut allergies. For example, some researchers believe that the allergies were caused by mothers who ate peanuts during pregnancy and nursing period. Others think that the intolerance develops in children who ate peanut or peanut butter in their baby years.
One recent study also tried to determine the root causes of a peanut allergy. It looked on how children developed allergies in the first place, and pointed to certain things that you can do to prevent the allergy in your child. The study was accepted well by experts.
The researchers studied about 14,000 preschool children, of whom 49 were allergic to peanuts. However, their mothers did not eat peanut during pregnancy or while nursing and the children didn’t eat peanuts in their baby age either. However, the study found the following tendency – kids allergic to peanuts had eczema or other oozing or crusting rashes. It also identified some links between peanut allergy and soy milk or soy formula. What is more, the study found that peanut allergies were highly connected to the use of skin products containing peanut oil or oils from other nuts.
Based on the information obtained within the study, the researchers concluded that children develop sensitivity to peanuts after birth and this condition is rather related to some environmental exposures.
Although the authors say it’s early to make final conclusions, they point to the rash as the main clue. As skin rashes tend to attract your immune system’s cells, the researchers suppose that allergic reactions may develop as a result of splitting soy milk on the skin, rather than drinking it. Since soy and peanuts are cross-reactive allergens, any contact of peanut oils or soy milk with your broken skin can affect the cells of your immune system and lead to an allergic reaction.
Thus, in order to decrease your child’s risk of peanut or soy allergies, you as a parent should stick to the following recommendations. Continue using anti skin rash lotions until you visit your doctor. Continue giving your child soy milk or soy formula until you visit the doctor. When choosing skin oils or massage lotions for your baby, pay attention to the label and make sure the products do not contain any traces of peanut or other tree nuts. When playing with a baby or changing his diapers, remember to take off any cosmetics that might contain peanut oil. In case your child develops a skin rash, you should contact the doctor. Never buy over-the-counter skin medications without discussing it with a professional.
In general, researchers suggest that you should be more careful with the products you use for your baby’s skin. This especially applies to the families with a history of allergic conditions, where the child is at a high risk of getting one, too.