My nephew is one of the 6 million children in the United States with food allergies. He has a severe nut allergy, requiring an EpiPen (adrenaline) injection and immediate trip to the emergency room after contact with someone whose touched or eaten nuts. His rapid onset of life-threatening symptoms includes swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and hives. He isn’t alone. The number of children with peanut allergies has tripled in the last decade. Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room and every 6 minutes the reaction is one of life-threatening anaphylaxis.
However, the 15 million people with food allergies now have hope. New clinical trials show promise for three experimental treatments: oral immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy and food allergy herbal formula-2. Scientists are also trying to understand how food allergies develop to help prevent them.
For more information on food allergies, check out my KQED Quest blog.