Not to browse! How nasal sprays can cause deadly peanut allergies
A spray spewed through the nose can eliminate deadly peanut allergies.
It contains tiny traces of the proteins in peanuts that could cause fatal reactions.
By regularly exposing the body to the proteins in the spray for weeks or months, doctors think they can help patients' immune systems become tolerant of them, and ultimately eliminate the risk of life-threatening reactions.
This type of treatment, known as immunotherapy, is already being used by specialized allergy clinics, but most of the time it involves swallowing tiny amounts of powder with peanut protein.
Gradually: by regularly exposing the body to the proteins in the spray for weeks or months, doctors think they can help patients' immune systems become tolerant of them
Although the treatment is effective, the protein content of nuts can vary considerably, making it difficult to closely monitor patients' intake and increase the risk of a potentially life-threatening reaction if they consume too much.
The new spray has been manufactured to contain extremely precise amounts of peanut protein and is currently undergoing international testing.
About one in 100 people in the UK has an allergy to peanuts. Most of the first allergic reactions occur before the age of two.
It happens when the immune system comes into contact with one of three types of peanut protein – ara h1, ara h2 and ara h3 – and mistakenly regards them as a threat. As a result, it releases chemicals to overcome what he believes to be a dangerous intruder.
It is these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction, often within seconds. These range from an itchy mouth, nose or ears to life-threatening anaphylactic shock – where the airway narrows, blood pressure drops, and the organs are closed, causing death.
People with allergies usually have an EpiPen device to give themselves an adrenaline injection if this happens. This opens the airways and dilates blood vessels to raise blood pressure again.
Common: about one in 100 people in the UK has an allergy to peanuts. Most of the first allergic reactions occur before the age of two
Nasal sprays are a popular way of delivering medication to the body because the nasal cavity is lined with small blood vessels close to the surface that can rapidly absorb drugs into the bloodstream.
Researchers behind the new peanut nasal spray, from the University of Michigan, developed it from ultra-fine droplets of soybean oil and water. They added minute traces of peanut protein.
In one study, they gave mice with peanut allergies, either the nasal spray or a dummy spray without peanut protein, three times over two months.
Two weeks after the last spray, all mice were fed peanuts. Mice treated with the dummy spray developed allergic symptoms – such as itching, swollen eyes, and wheezing – but those who got the real thing had no symptoms, reports the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Further tests are underway to see if the effects are permanent. If it is successful, it will be tested on people and may be available for treatment within three to five years.
Dr. Paul Turner, a scientist investigating food allergies at Imperial College in London, says: “It is certainly plausible and the nasal route can prove to be safer and easier than by mouth.
& # 39; The danger is that we increase the risk of allergic reactions, making the allergy worse. & # 39;
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