From One Hopeful Allergy Mom: A New Peanut Allergy Patch in the Works?

Parents of Teenage Girl Speak Out About Death

A few weeks ago I read about the death of a young teenage girl. She was at summer camp and ate a rice crispy treat that apparently contained peanut allergens. Her father, a doctor, was with her at the time and despite his persistent attempts to save his daughter – administering three epi-pens – this young woman lost her battle and passed away far too young.

As a mother of a toddler with severe food allergies that include peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs, stories like this weigh heavily on my heart. I instantly begin empathizing with all of the parents out there who have buried their children because of an honest accident. I then naturally walk over to my son and hug him closely.

Food allergies are difficult, to say the least. Not only do you have to worry about what your child has taken from your cabinets, but you are also burdened with the threat of what other children grab out from their cabinets.  It’s scary, yet much more common today. My sister who is a teacher informed me that last year, 56 out of 60 classrooms in her school hosted children with nut allergies. Although I never want any mother or child to live a life of fear, deep down inside, this growing number brings me hope. The reality – the more prevalent the issue, the more money and research that will go into finding a cure.

And it seems that there may actually be a cure around the corner. Recently I received an email from PeanutAllergy.com. Some emails come through my inbox with recipes, others with horrible stories like the one above, and some reporting on studies. This email was exciting: “Will There Be a Peanut Allergy Patch? A worldwide study is being conducted which could lead to a patch for peanut allergy sufferers. The patch would help people become desensitized to peanuts.”

There is in fact a global peanut allergy study that involves the testing of a new patch. And though it may take a few years to reach conclusions, the allergy community is very hopeful. The purpose of a peanut allergy patch would be to desensitize the patient over time, with an ultimate aim to eventually make people who have a peanut allergy tolerant of peanuts, even if they take off the patch.

This is not the only study that is underway. There have been and continue to be similar studies that involve a process of desensitizing patients by administering small doses of the allergen orally over time. These studies are proving hopeful for many patients, though not for others. A few participants have experienced reactions ranging from minor to anaphylaxis.

Although it’s too early to tell whether the patch will be ‘the cure’, this allery mom is hopeful. My son is still very young, so I pray each day that he will outgrow his allergies. I have to say, it feels pretty good to also be able to pray that we will find a cure soon, should he not.

I would love to hear from fellow allergy moms out there. How do you feel about the ongoing studies? Would you enroll your child in a food allergy study?

meg gerritson - Mom Meet Mom

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2 Responses

  1. I have a TN/seed allergy and my daughter has a PN allergy that has escalated quickly. We’re always watching the latest research. In the past, there has been limited success with food allergies and desensitization routines, but I’m hopeful science will pull it off before she’s too much older…somehow. (I hoped against hope that pregnancy would eliminate my food allergies–it has happened, but alas.)

    I’m not sure I’d enroll my daughter in a study. I’d do it myself, because I’m 40 and I know what the onset of anaphylaxis feels like, and I’m pretty sure I could get my epi pen out and call 911 before it was too late.

    Per my daughter’s allergist, she has a 50% chance of either 1) aging out of the PN allergy completely or 2) gaining a TN allergy, and the recommendation he gave was avoidance of all nuts, including TN, to prevent the second sort of allergy.

    Either way, it’s not fun. Every time I see/hear one of the moms who bitches that they can’t give their kid peanut butter because of “that one kid” I see red.

    • @attorney At Large Thanks for your comment. My son is still very young so we will be sitting on the sidelines for a bit to see how these studies progress. It is so difficult to deal with food allergies today with all of our food options, and yet I am so happy that we are coping with this today because we are FAR from alone, which means more funding and research. Hopefully the medical community will get to the bottom of this sooner. RE: your feelings toward other moms… you might enjoy this recent post 😉 ow.ly/ppUHr

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