Food Allergy Management and Treatment Ready, Set, Food!
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  • Ask the Allergist: Food Allergy Management and Treatment

    By: Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.

Ask the Allergist: Food Allergy Management and Treatment

By: Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.

Ask the Allergist: Food Allergy Management and Treatment

By: Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Month, we're excited to kick off our Ask the Allergist series, focused on providing food allergy education to families. At Ready, Set, Food!, we’re committed to all aspects of food allergy education, so families can make informed decisions about their children’s nutrition and give their babies the best defense against food allergies. 


 

Currently, there is no cure for food allergy.

The cornerstone of treatment for an IgE-mediated food allergy is strict avoidance and nutritional counseling. (Exception: some people with milk or egg allergies can tolerate baked versions of these foods.) A high level of education is needed for multiple people involved in order to maintain safety, including:

  • Label-reading (Learn more here)
  • Hidden ingredients
  • Cross-contact
  • Early signs of anaphylaxis and when to use epinephrine is very important

 

Treating Severe Allergic Reactions: Epinephrine

Epinephrine is the only medication that can stop anaphylaxis and is life-saving.

    • 3 different doses: 0.1mg, 0.15mg, and 0.3mg based on the person’s weight
    • Immediate evaluation in the ER for monitoring after use
    • Biphasic reactions: can occur 4 to 24 hours after the initial reaction in 10 to 15% of people and therefore two epi auto-injectors are required at all times
    • Antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Xyzal, Allegra, Claritin), steroids (Prednisone) and inhalers (Albuterol) are not used for first-line treatment in anaphylaxis
      • They are additional medications that can improve symptoms, but they will not stop anaphylaxis from progressing
    • Action Plan: every patient/family should have a personalized action plan. (FARE offers resources for these here.)
      • In addition, creating a 504 plan for school-aged children with food allergies can be very helpful

 


Immunotherapy: Food Desensitization Treatments

 

All of the below treatments can cause side effects and severe allergic reactions. It is currently unknown if these treatments can successfully achieve tolerance which is the ability to permanently tolerate ingesting the food. They may only allow the food allergic person to be protected from accidental ingestion of the allergic food temporarily while they are receiving the treatment. There is still no true “cure” for food allergies.

There is still no true “cure” for food allergies.


However, current research focused on food desensitization includes:

    • Oral Immunotherapy (OIT): Small doses of the allergenic food are given to the patient and the amounts are slowly increased over time until a target dose is reached

    • Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT): Similar to OIT however, uses drops of liquid that contain the food allergen given under the tongue. SLIT may not work as well as OIT but is associated with fewer side effects.

    • Epicutaneous Immunotherapy (EPIT): A patch that contains the food allergen is applied to the skin and releases tiny amounts of the food allergen into the skin.

 

A Recent Breakthrough in Food Allergy Prevention

Thankfully, recent landmark studies (LEAP, EAT, PETIT) have proven that exposing babies to food allergens early and often can significantly reduce their risk. In addition, new medical guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) have been published supporting early allergen introduction.  

Ready, Set, Food! makes the introduction of allergenic foods easy, safe and affordable for all families, providing a ground-breaking solution to the rise in food allergies.  Join us in our mission to helping give families everywhere a head-start towards a lifetime free of allergies and help end this food allergy epidemic!


  

 

About the author: Our Chief Allergist, Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D., is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and Internal Medicine, and treats both pediatric and adult patients. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she received her M.D. with honors from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern and fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP).  After finishing training, she moved to Southern California and currently works in private practice. She is a member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food! She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 year old son, and 10 month old daughter where she enjoys hiking, building LEGO castles with her son, and cooking with her family.

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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

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