Study gives new hope to people with peanut allergies
Cheryl Holmes, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, January 30, 2014 2:20PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:25PM CST
A new study out of the United Kingdom is giving hope to parents that their child may eventually not have to worry as much about what they eat and where it came from.
The research shows that trace amounts of peanuts can actually increase a child's tolerance to foods that contain it and possibly lead to a healthier, safer life.
Mom Leona Friesen’s seven-year-old daughter Zoe has a food allergy.
Friesen said that before her daughter was born, she always worried seven-year old Zoe would have a peanut allergy.
"I would have dreams, like nightmares, all the time that she had peanuts and all of a sudden I'd find the EpiPen and it wasn’t working or we couldn’t find the hospital," said Friesen.
Zoe was 18-months-old when she ate peanut butter on toast and those fears were confirmed.
"She immediately started rubbing her neck and coughing and she started getting a rash from her ear lobes right down to her abdomen,” said Friesen.
Zoe is one of nearly 2.5 million Canadians who suffer from a food allergy.
Peanut allergies are one of the most common for children, but now a new study out of the U.K. says a treatment called oral immunotherapy can offer new hope.
The study tested 99 children age 7 to 16. Kids are exposed to peanut protein at increasing amounts.
After just six months, 84 per cent of those kids could tolerate exposure without suffering severe allergy symptoms.
But, doctors still worry about the long-term effects, as there have been no long-term studies done.
Friesen isn’t worried though. She said she would still include her daughter in the tests.
"I would absolutely be interested in doing it as long as it's in a hospital setting or somewhere like that,” she said.
The U.K. study is the largest of its kind worldwide.
At the end, participants could safely ingest 800 milligrams of peanut protein. That's the equivalent of five peanuts a day, meaning kids would be able to eat things like these granola bars which contain trace amounts of peanuts.
Doctors warn not to do these tests at home, as there can still be mild or severe reactions to any amount of peanut protein.