It is estimated that 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. As those with allergies are well aware, the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid contact with the allergen. However, several teams of researchers are currently investigating potential treatments for food allergies that could allow those afflicted to eat their allergen without fear of a reaction, or even how to prevent food allergies from developing in the first place.
Dr. Ashley Stokes, a Physiology professor at the University of Hawaii, tellsKHON2“It affects our daily lives so there is quite a bit of research going on to try and understand it better and understand the basic physiology of how it occurs but also then how to treat it and to prevent it.” She says “ We’re still learning how the hypersensitivity occurs and why something is normal for one person can create such a strong reaction in another.”
Dr. Stokes explains that there is a treatment for some allergies, such as those to bee stings, in which small doses are used to desensitize the body so that the immune system does not react to the allergen. However, the treatment is still not widely available for food allergies. She says “It’s coming along and I expect it will be something available we can do in doctors offices for a few years, and then people might be able to do it at home.”