Food Allergy Clinic

Food Allergy Clinic

Food allergy carries a significant burden on yourself and your family’s quality of life. In case of children, it brings extra burden on the growth and welfare of your child due to limitation of foods your child can take and the inconvenience of avoiding several foods at school and at other extra curriculum activities. Unfortunately, many of the labeled food allergy diagnoses are not necessary true. Food allergy test has to be interpreted in conjunction with thorough clinical symptoms to avoid over-diagnosing. Food allergy testing should be analyzed by an allergist with expertise in the area since the test only provides us with a probability of having an allergic reaction to that particular food. True food allergy is dangerous since reactions can be serious and life-threatening in case of anaphylaxis. Previously avoidance of the allergic food is the only treatment. Many active research trials in recent years have shred light into our understanding of the safety and efficacy of food desensitization that now food desensitization can be done at many allergy immunology clinics.

Food Allergy Clinic offers the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art expertise and standardized approach in diagnosis and treatment of food allergy. If you have questions about food allergy or doubt that you or your child might have allergy to foods, please come for a discussion. Below are services and procedures we offer at Texas Allergy for food allergy.

Food Allergy Common Questions

Food allergy affects 6-8% of US children under five years of age. Food is the most common cause of outpatient anaphylaxis. Peanut and tree nuts are the most common triggers of fatal reactions in the United States and these food allergies are typically not outgrown. In fact 40% of all patients with food allergies have at least one emergency room visit due to their food allergies.

What if foods are triggering my child’s eczema?

Many people strictly avoid a certain food long term after it has been identified by a physician or family member. However, studies have shown that around 20% of children who strictly avoid that food go on long term to develop a true life-threatening food allergy (IgE-mediated reaction).

What can I do if I should not avoid the food that is triggering my child’s eczema?

Medications can be used to completely control eczema even if the food is consumed.

What can I do about my child’s food allergies?

Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) is an alternative treatment option for food allergies beyond the current standard of care, which typically involves allergen avoidance and epinephrine(epi-pen) use.

What is oral immunotherapy (OIT)?

OIT involves ingesting the allergen in small amounts and progressively increasing the amount over time. This is done to desensitize the body to the specific food protein. 

Who is this for?

OIT is only for children with a true food allergy (IgE mediated reaction). It is not effective for food intolerances or food induced eczema flares or any other non-IgE mediated reactions. 

What is the benefit?

OIT can significantly reduce food allergy reactions and the need for emergency medications/treatment when the child has reached sustained unresponsiveness (which is when a child can discontinue OIT and still remain able to consume the food without reacting). Recent studies have shown that if OIT is started at a younger age, OIT can result in sustained unresponsiveness ultimately resulting in a “cure” for their food allergy. 

What are the risks?

There are adverse effects that can be severe including anaphylaxis and eosinophilic esophagitis.

Is there anything that can be done to minimize the risks?

The risks can be minimized with certain medications and changes to treatment protocols. 

What if I stop half way through OIT?

Initially, desensitization can be lost if the allegen is not consumed on an ongoing basis. 

How Effective is OIT?

Current studies are ongoing. The most studied food is currently peanut; the sustained effectiveness appears to be around 80-90% with a 10-20% chance of failure. However, this sustained effectiveness is likely in children less than the age of 4 years. Unfortunately after the age of 4 years, the sustained effectiveness appears to drastically decrease and may not be a permanent unresponsiveness; though unresponsiveness appears to be maintained as the therapy is continued. 

What if I do nothing and follow standard of care?

According to the studies, it is dependent on the food.

Peanut Allergy has an 80% chance of keeping into adulthood and a 20% chance of outgrowing.

Tree Nuts Allergy (including cashew, almond, pecan, hazelnut, pistachio, brazil nut, pine nut, and macademia nut) have a 91% chance of keeping into adulthood and a 9% chance of outgrowing.

Sesame has around a 70-80% chance of keeping into adulthood and a 20-30% chance of outgrowing.

Milk has around a 15% chance of keeping into adulthood and a 85% chance of outgrowing by the age of 5 years of age.

Egg has around a 15% chance of keeping into adulthood and a 85% chance of outgrowing by the age of 5 years of age. 

Wheat has around a 15% chance of keeping into adulthood and an 85% chance of outgrowing by the age of 5 years of age. Though some studies report as low as 65% chance of outgrowing by the age of 12 years of age.

Soy has around a 15% chance of keeping into adulthood and an 85% chance of outgrowing by the age of 5 years of age. Though some studies report as low as 70% chance of outgrowing by the age of 10 years of age.