For many people with allergies to peanuts and other nuts, the fear of accidentally ingesting those foods is a constant one, as reactions can be severe and pose serious health risks. But what if there was another way to be prepared, beyond an EpiPen and relentlessly questioning restaurant servers?
Science is attempting to come to the rescue of such people with a study on peanut allergies, aimed at a patch that could desensitize people by using a peanut protein, reports USA Today.
The study on the patch could pave the way for helping people combat the troublesome allergies before an incident even occurs. There’s currently no other way to do so, beyond being prepared for such an instance and avoiding peanuts.
The patch’s goal is to make those with allergies tolerant of peanuts, even after they’re done wearing the patch.
There are around three million Americans with a nut allergy, says Marshall Plaut, chief of food allergy, atopic dermatitis and allergic mechanisms at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It’s the one associated with the highest rate of life-threatening allergic reactions and even death,” Plaut said.
Data from the study should be fully collected by July 2014, say researchers, so there’s still a bit of waiting time before we find out if there’s a miracle patch to solve this often life-threatening problem and let anyone who wants to enjoy a bit of peanut butter now and then.
A patch to treat peanut allergies in works [USA Today]