Food Allergies in Arlington, TX
Board-Certified Specialist in Pediatric & Adult Allergies
Food allergies are quite rare, affecting only 4% of adults and up to 6% of children. If you or a loved one have a food allergy, our team at Cure Allergy Clinic located in Arlington, Texas, provides both sublingual therapy (allergy drops) and food desensitization to address food allergies, including unusual food allergies. Needless to say, you can rely on Dr. M. Waseem Imam, D.O., our board-certified specialist in pediatric and adult allergies.
What Do I Need to Know About a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an immune response that occurs when your body overreacts to a type of food by incorrectly identifying it as dangerous. This overreaction triggers a protective response and allergy symptoms. A food allergy is most common in toddlers and children, but anyone can develop a food allergy at any age. You can eat a certain food for years with no problems, and then develop an allergy to that food.
Symptoms of a food allergy may involve your:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Cardiovascular system
- Respiratory tract
Food allergies that affect your gastrointestinal tract can worsen conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, or eosinophilic disorders, which are inflammatory blood disorders related to an excess of white blood cells.
The Food Program at Cure Allergy Clinic
The food program at cure allergy clinic focusing on decreasing the threshold for severe anaphylaxis reactions to food. We do this via a few mechanisms:
- We desensitize to non-food allergens that may worsen a severe allergic reaction. Uncontrolled asthma, respiratory issues, or allergic lung conditions drastically increase the risk of a life-threatening food reaction. Large part of deaths from food allergy occur due to respiratory failure. We start the program reducing this risk as much as possible by testing for inhalant allergies (dust mites, trees, weed, grasses, molds, and animals), and treating them. Several of these allergies cross react with food allergies, so we can reduce the food allergy indirectly. This will also reduce the risk of developing asthma or treat it, and help treat allergic rhinitis, sinus issues, and skin issues that may be due to environmental allergies. Our treatment for this usually inducing long term remission of the environmental allergies.
- We introduce the allergic food via the sublingual route (under the tongue), and very low doses and slowly increase them over time. We call this Food sublingual immunotherapy or Food SLIT. This involves a vial with a pump we give you, that contains very small amounts of food protein. This route is convenient (requires less trips to the doctor’s office), is done at home, and much safer than oral immunotherapy.
- We introduce cross reactive foods. Food allergies usually come in pairs, and many proteins in nature may be available in more than one food in various amounts. We can use these foods in an attempt to make someone “less allergic” to the main food they are allergic to. For example, someone allergic to walnuts is very likely to have a pecan allergy as well. If you treat one, the other nut is better tolerated.
Our primary goal is to decrease the allergic burden of the food and give piece of mind by decreasing the risk of a life-threatening reaction to the foods. Each person’s progress differs. Some patients go on to complete remission of the food, but most are able to tolerate a little more than they could before. The program is not a replacement for avoidance. Most studies show that parents of children with food allergies want a safe method to decrease their risk, as opposed to having them eat the food freely. We created this protocol to give parents that option.
How does this differ with oral immunotherapy?
Oral Immunotherapy, or OIT, is the method if introducing small amounts of allergic food into the diet and increasing the amounts over a year. Peanut for example, if given in small amounts and every 2 weeks the patient has a follow-up were the dose is increased. We do not perform traditional oral immunotherapy for a few reasons:
- OIT has a at home Epipen use of 10-20% in the course of treatment. This is higher than the rate of Epipen use with strict avoidance measures. This means children undergoing OIT are more likely to react from the OIT than just avoiding the food altogether.
- OIT can cause gastrointestinal problems. OIT does not cure an allergy but overwhelms the immune system until it stops reacting in the short term to the food. Children can still develop esophagitis or other GI issues.
- OIT is inconvenient. It requires the food be given 21-27 hours apart every day, with no activity for 1-2 hours after the food is given, for the rest of the child’s life. Studies have shown, that even after years of undergoing OIT, if the food is stopped for 1-2 months, the food allergy rapidly returns.
- OIT usually only treats one food allergy at a time. With sublingual immunotherapy, several foods can be treated together.
When successful, OIT does allow patients to reach higher doses than can be done with sublingual therapy, however they must keep the above risks in mind.
The Cure Allergy Food Program is an option for parents seeking to reduce allergic burden, decrease risk of life-threatening reactions in a matter that is more convenient and safer than traditional oral immunotherapy.
We offer the program for ages of 3 years old and older.
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More Cost Effective Treatments
Helping our patients by offering affordable treatments
Medications Made for Your Needs
We strive to optimize your regimen
Same Day Appointments Available
Patients need to be off allergy medication for 4-7 days for best outcomes
We Treat the Heart of the Problem
Via immunotherapy, we focus on the disease and not just the symptoms