It is estimated that 1.5 million children in the United States (alone) have a peanut allergy. This, of course, is often one of the most severe (and, unfortunately, prevalent) allergies among children as it can be so extreme that those who suffer it cannot even be in the same room with a single nut.
Of course, this becomes a major problem when you realize that many processed foods—even healthier foods made in certain types of facilities—can be exposed to or come into contact with peanuts. Many facilities that process foods that do not contain peanuts, for example, will unfortunately also process foods that do; which means that traces of peanuts can remain within the machines or get into packaging.
And for some children, sadly, this is more than enough exposure to cause a massive allergic reaction.
With that knowledge, then, scientists have long sought ways to cure or correct this horrible food allergy. Some theories have suggested testing children early for food allergies and then start by introducing small amounts of that food as they get older. However, a new skin patch that could halt this allergy shows great promise.
Of course, researchers make sure to address that this is not a cure, at least not yet. For now, nearly half of those treated with the skin patch, in a clinical study, were found to be able to eat ten times more peanuts than before using the patch.
National Jewish Health for Kids Pediatric Allergist Dr. Christine Cho reminds that “Ten times more peanut, actually for a lot of these patients is less than actually one peanut, so these are not kids who can go out and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” However, they were able to observe, too, that children between the ages of 4 and 11 showed the best response to the therapy; and it had less of an effect on children older than 12.
The study was conducted by through five different peanut patch trials at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and the National Jewish Health Center, in Denver.