The mainstay of treatment for food allergy is avoidance of the foods that have been identified as allergens. For people who are extremely sensitive, this may involve the total avoidance of any exposure to the allergen, including touching or inhaling the problematic food as well as touching any surfaces that may have come into contact with it.

If the food is accidentally ingested and a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs, then epinephrine should be used. It is possible that a second dose of epinephrine may be required for severe reactions.




There are treatments for an allergic reaction. When the first time the reaction occurs, it is most beneficial to take the person to the emergency room, where proper action may be taken. Other treatments include: epinephrine, antihistamines, and steroids.

Epinephrine

 

EpiPens are portable epinephrine-dispensing devices which can be used to alleviate the symptoms of severe, acute allergies.

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is a common medication used to treat allergic reactions. Epinephrine reverses the allergic reaction by improving blood circulation. This is done by tightening blood vessels in order to increase the heart beat and circulation to bodily organs. Epinephrine is produced naturally in the body. It is produced during “flight-or-fight” response. When a person is presented with a dangerous situation, the adrenal gland is triggered to release adrenaline; this gives the person an increased heart rate and more energy to try to fight off the danger being imposed on the individual. Epinephrine is also prescribed by a physician in a form that is self-injectable. This is what is called an epi-pen.



Antihistamines

Antihistamines are also used to treat allergic reactions. Antihistamines block the action of histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate and become leaky to plasma proteins. Histamine also causes itchiness by acting on sensory nerve terminals. The most common antihistamine given for food allergies is diphenhydramine, also known as Benedryl. Antihistamines relieve symptoms. When it comes to dealing with anaphylaxis, however, they do not completely improve the dangerous symptoms that affect breathing.

Steroids

Steroids are used to calm down the immune system cells that are attacked by the chemicals released during an allergic reaction. This form of treatment in the form of a nasal spray should not be used to treat anaphylaxis, for it only relieves symptoms in the area in which the steroid is in contact. Another reason steroids should not be used to treat anaphylaxis is due to the long amount of time it takes to reduce inflammation and start to work. Steroids can also be taken orally or through injection. By taking a steroid in these manners, every part of the body can be reached and treated, but a long time is usually needed for these to take effect.

Desensitization, also known as, Oral Immunotherapy

For food allergy, desensitization can be achieved through oral immunotherapy. While not a cure, this program enables food allergic children and adults to consume foods that they were allergic to previously, without any allergic reaction.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

As of early 2012, phase II clinical trials for human efficacy have gotten underway for a formula called FAHF-2 (food allergy herbal formula 2). This formula is based on a long-used Traditional Chinese Medicine formula for parasite infection. In early clinical trials, it has been found to completely block anaphylaxis in mouse models.

Vaccines

Prof. Dr. Ronald van Ree of The University of Amsterdam and The Academic Medical Center theorizes that vaccines can be created using genetic engineering to cure allergies.