Food allergy treatment is inevitably limited as to what it can achieve, given that there are no possible cures for food allergies. There are ways to fight the allergic reaction if it occurs, and to try to speed up the pace at which the offending substance leaves the body, but the vast majority of treatment for allergies involves elimination of foods which cause the reaction. This will allow symptoms to be managed so that the patient can have a relatively normal life, with only a slightly restricted diet.
The long term treatment which is available to those who have a food allergy needs to start with a comprehensive program of diagnosis to try to identify the substance which is causing the problem. The program needs to start with a full, unrestricted diet, including all possible allergens, so that reactions can be observed. Once the reaction which occurs in this specific case has been observed, the patient can then be put on a bland diet to allow the body to recover. When the body is free of the symptoms again, it is ready for the extended test.
Start the test by returning to the original diet, but eliminate just one food. This should be the one which you suspect is most likely to be the allergen. If the body remains healthy, you have identified the cause of the problem, and no further treatment should be needed. This is assuming that the allergen you have identified can be avoided by following the labeling on supermarket products. In some cases, such as nut allergies, it is necessary to avoid any foods which could contain even the slightest residue of nuts from preparation equipment.
If some of the offending substance does make it in to the body, either through the patient being careless or the labeling on food being inadequate, action will need to be taken. In the case of extreme reactions, such as those which affect the breathing and the bloodstream, emergency medical care will be needed immediately. In the case of a lesser reaction, hormones can be used to speed up the process of the substance naturally being excreted from the body. These hormones are the same ones which are used in the body’s natural fight or flight mechanism.
There is a greater awareness now that food allergy symptoms can be more than unpleasant, although there are still large numbers of people who don’t know quite how serious they can be. The most important food allergy treatment of all is the one which is needed when a nut allergy sufferer has an extreme reaction. In this case, the breathing is threatened, so emergency medical attention will be needed quickly. This treatment can save a life, but it will never be a certainty. Keeping nuts entirely out of the environment of the sufferer is of critical importance.
Food allergies which cause a less extreme reaction can be dealt with in a variety of ways. Some of the most common reactions, such as hives and eczema, affect the skin area. These can be treated by outside treatments such as lotions and creams, but there is a strict limit on what these can do. They are only treating symptoms, they will do nothing to treat the underlying condition. For the majority of sufferers with mild conditions, the combination of treating the symptoms and avoiding the allergen will be enough to give them a normal life.
The development of treatments in the future will depend on several factors. It has been suggested by eminent people within the medical profession that a vaccine will prove to be the ultimate answer against food allergies. Whether or not this happens remains to be seen, but there will still be serious questions that need to be asked. If the vaccine can only be applied at a certain age, is it not possible that a young child could have a fatal allergic reaction before the vaccine is even used? It will be a sensible precaution to avoid nuts in baby formula until the vaccine can be used. The best scenario would be for a blood test to be developed which could detect an allergy in advance. The allergen could then be strictly avoided until the vaccine could be administered.
The future of food allergy treatment does promise to be better than the present, and it has even been suggested that a comprehensive vaccine could be used to eliminate food allergies. The predictions may turn out to be on the optimistic side, as they have often done when they are made in advance of a technology even being developed, but it is more than likely that some new treatments will be invented. A vaccine would be a relatively cheap, but still effective, food allergy treatment.
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