Questions for ‘Fighting food allergies’

Many children love peanuts and the “butter” made from them. But for some people allergic to these legumes, it can take less than a third of a peanut (or its equivalent) to trigger a dangerous allergic reaction.

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To accompany feature “Fighting food allergies

SCIENCE

Before Reading:

1.   It’s likely that you know at least one person who is allergic to at least one food. What food or foods are those?

2.   How do these people avoid developing an allergic reaction to such foods? 

During Reading

1.  What were Isaac Judy’s symptoms of food allergy? How serious had his reaction been?

2.  Based on the article, how many children in the United States suffer from food allergies? How many adults are allergic to foods?

3.  What is epinephrine and how or why is it used?

4.  What is an allergic reaction and why does it develop?

5.  What is anaphylaxis?

6.  What are IgE antibodies and what can they tell doctors?

7.  What is an oral food challenge and why do families sometimes sign up to have a child take it? Why must a doctor be present when this procedure takes place?

8.  What is oral immunotherapy and how does it differ from patch therapies? Which is thought to be safer? Is one more effective than the other, based on data from the cited trials? 

9.  What is sublingual therapy and how well did it work in the trial by Dr. Kim’s group?

10.  When one of these therapies is deemed successful, does it mean someone now can eat as much as they want of the foods that used to provoke an allergic reaction?

After Reading:

1.  Why do the families of patients with a food allergy tend to become stressed out? If you or a family member had a peanut allergy, what would you (could you) do to reduce that amount of stress? Describe the steps you would take.

2.  Food allergies in U.S. kids climbed from an estimated 3.4 percent in 1997 to 7.6 percent in 2018. If an estimated 8 million U.S. kids had food allergies in 2018, how many would have had such allergies in 1997 (assuming the nation had the same number of kids)?

3.  If you had a peanut allergy, what approach would you take to control your risk of analphylaxis (assuming the costs of your allergy-prevention treatment would always be fully covered by insurance)? Explain your reasoning.