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According to Wang and Sampson (2009), food allergies are unpleasant reactions by the body to certain foods. Children and infants are the ones most affected by food allergies. However, some adults also suffer from allergic disorders. Food substances that cause allergy are referred to as allergens and include milk, peanuts, eggs, and medication, among others.
Allergens may also be regarded as foreign substances that cause the body to react. If not well managed, allergens lead to allergic conditions that disrupt the normal functioning of the human body. People with allergy problems must thus make every effort to avoid foods their bodies react to since taking such foods may lead to serious health problems.
Although some children can overcome food allergies after some time, others suffer for a very long time. According to Chara, Chara, and Chara (2004), the two types of allergy.
The first type is a food allergy, and the second is an environmental allergy. While food allergies prohibit individuals from eating foods that cause the body to react, environmental allergies cause individuals to the environment. Environmental allergies prohibit individuals from coming into contact with things such as grass or dust. Generally, the effect of the two allergies is the same, and the treatment may also be similar.
By the year 2013, the total number of children and adults affected by food allergies was estimated to be approximately 8.2 million (Brock, 2013). There is a high possibility that the number of casualties may continue to increase in the future unless serious control measures are taken (Thernstrom, 2013).
Considering the effect of food allergies on victims, it is imperative for research professionals with support from state governments to come up with efficient ways of addressing the food allergy problem. This paper focuses on recent and promising discoveries by research professionals regarding the treatment of allergic disorders.
Causes and Symptoms of Allergic Disorders
Generally, individuals suffer from food allergies when they consume foods that react with the body in ways that are not normal. In any allergic reaction, proteins in the body produce antigens that end up reacting with foods eaten by individuals with allergic disorders. Allergic disorders are also caused by irresponsible behavior among individuals.
The symptoms of food allergy include tiredness, swellings on different parts of the body, and nausea. Without a doubt, allergic disorders greatly interfere with the normal functioning of the human body. It is thus important for allergic disorders to be managed effectively. Other symptoms of allergic disorders include swelling on the mouth and throat. A victim may also experience difficulties with his or her breathing system, and this may have very serious repercussions.
Recent and Promising Treatments in Food Allergy Research
To a large extent, there has been a negative attitude toward the treatment of allergic disorders. Some people are strongly convinced that the food allergy problem cannot be cured. As pointed out by Groopman (2011), research professionals avoided the study of allergic disorders until very recently.
In the United States, the amount of money allocated to study food allergies and how to control their effect is significantly less than the cost of maintaining individuals who are allergic. Unlike in the past, where food allergy research was feared by researchers, efforts to understand allergic disorders and how to effectively manage them have intensified in the recent past.
Ostensibly, scientists are doing everything possible to provide effective approaches for dealing with food allergy problems. It is, however, very important for the government to offer strong financial backing to compliment the efforts by research professionals to provide a lasting solution for allergic disorders.
The greatest challenge that has been faced by researchers in the field of food allergies has been the lack of enough funding. Drawing from the study by Wang and Sampson (2009), no cure exists for allergic disorders. There is thus a need to develop an effective remedy to save the lives of victims.
According to Zeiger (2003), the best strategy for dealing with allergic disorders is to start by prevention. Lack of vital knowledge about the prevention of allergic disorders is to blame for poor strategies used in prevention efforts. The prevention of allergic disorders may be handled in different ways.
Parents may, for example, avoid introducing small children to solid foods so early in life. It is also advisable to stay away from soy protein, which is allergenic. As pointed out by Zeiger (2003), it is also important for expectant mothers to avoid taking allergic foods during pregnancy. Mothers should also not be in a hurry to stop breastfeeding young children.
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Besides prevention, there are other approaches that have been investigated to determine their effectiveness in dealing with the food allergy problem. Some are allergen-specific and help to change individuals’ allergic response to particular allergens. The use of allergen non-specific strategies, on the other hand, is aimed at keeping the allergic response under control and is especially useful in cases where individuals are allergic to multiple foods (Wang & Sampson, 2009). The two approaches are discussed in the following subsections.
Allergen Therapy Strategies
There are various allergy therapy strategies for managing allergic disorders, including allergen immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy. Using the allergen immunotherapy approach, the victim is slowly introduced to foods he or she is allergic to in small doses until the body eventually gets used to these foods. Usually, the overall intention is to reduce the allergy effect and build acceptance for the food in the victim’s body.
This therapy includes subcutaneous immunotherapy, which has been used extensively to deal with allergic disorders associated with asthma and stings from insects. Earlier uses of subcutaneous immunotherapy were not very successful. It also includes oral immunotherapy that may lead to negative effects.
Improvements to this approach later led to effective desensitization programs and high rates of success in the fight against allergic disorders. Arguably, the sublingual immunotherapy strategy is very helpful in cases where individuals are asthmatic. It is generally rated as one of the best approaches for managing allergic disorders in both children and adults.
Modified recombinant vaccines are used to boost the body’s ability to deal with the food allergy problem. This approach has been singled out as the most appropriate for reducing the effect of food allergies. Modified recombinant vaccines may be used to modify subcutaneous immunotherapy in order to yield better results.
Peptide immunotherapy is another helpful strategy for dealing with the problem of food allergy. An individual who is allergic to peanut, for example, maybe assisted using pepsin. There are, however, challenges associated with the process of establishing the correct measures that are necessary to create effectiveness.
Mixed with proteins, immunostimulatory sequence-conjugated protein immunotherapy is highly valued as an approach for controlling the effect of allergic disorders in children as well as adults. Arguably, the level of effectiveness is because immunotherapy is combined with immunostimulatory sequence-conjugated.
Plasma DNA immunotherapy may also be used in the fight against allergic disorders. It involves the mixing of plasmid and DNA to create a mixture that is then given to victims of allergic disorders. Although the approach has been successfully tried in animals, its success among human beings still requires a thorough investigation.
Research professionals are, however, determined to ensure that the right strategy for dealing with allergic disorders is established. For greater success to be realized, it is imperative for research centers and research professionals to work closely with state governments.
Allergen Non-Specific Therapies
As explained earlier, the use of allergen non-specific strategies is intended to ensure that allergic responses in individuals are carefully monitored. Unlike allergen-specific therapies, the use of allergen non-specific strategies is encouraged in cases where it is determined that a particular individual is allergic to multiple foods. Some allergen non-specific therapies are discussed as follows.
One of the allergen non-specific therapies requires the use of Chinese traditional medicine. Even though it is still under investigation, the use of Chinese traditional medicine is proving to be very useful in the management of allergic disorders. It is especially helpful when dealing with allergies that result from eating foods that contain peanut. Also, it can successfully be used to deal with cases of multiple food allergies.
Considering that allergies often create an imbalance in a victim’s body, the use of cytokine is encouraged as an excellent solution for ensuring that the problem is managed successfully. Among other things, cytokine cancels the effect of allergies and helps to create a good balance in the body.
The stimulation of toll-like receptors can also help to generate very powerful immune responses. Effective use of toll-like receptors decreases the rate of inflammation and protects individuals from peanut related allergic disorders. Toll-like receptors also help in dealing with other effects of food allergies.
Unlike in the olden days, food allergy is today a major concern in many countries across the world. As a consequence, so much is being done by research professionals and governments to understand the effects of allergic disorders to come up with effective solutions. As has been explained in this paper, food allergies have serious effects on both children and adults. While food allergies mostly affect children and infants, there are cases of allergic disorders among adults.
Because of the negative consequences associated with allergic disorders, it is imperative for state governments and research professionals to work closely and complement each other’s efforts. To devise successful intervention strategies, researchers should take time to understand the complex interaction between different factors.
State governments and research professionals may also promote the use of prevention strategies to deal with food allergy problems. The prevention strategies highlighted in this paper include avoiding the use of allergic foods by expectant mothers during the pregnancy period, extending the breastfeeding period for small children, and staying away from the consumption of soy protein. Certainly, the avoidance of allergic foods permits individuals to put the allergy problem under control.
Brock, E. (2013). Recent Findings in Food Allergy Research. Web.
Chara, K. A., Chara, P. J. & Chara, K. (2004). Allergy Busters: A Story for Children with Autism or Related.Spectrum Disorders Struggling with Allergies. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Groopman, J. (2011). The Peanut Puzzle: Could the Conventional Wisdom on Children and Allergies be Wrong? Web.
Thernstrom, M. (2013). The Allergy Buster Can a Radical New Treatment Save Children With Severe Food Allergies? Web.
Wang, J. & Sampson, H. A. (2009). Food Allergy: Recent Advances in Pathophysiology and Treatment. Allergy Asthma Immunology Research, 1(1), 19 – 29.
Zeiger, R. (2003). Food Allergen Avoidance in the Prevention of Food Allergy in Infants and Children. Pediatrics, 111(6), 1662 – 1671.