allergy treatment Archives - Lifelab Testing

Peanut allergy treatment approved by FDA

There’s been a game changing development in the world of allergies. In the end of January, FDA approved a revolutionary new kind of peanut allergy treatment for children and adolescents called Palforzia. The approval comes following a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with roughly 500 participants.

The new allergy treatment brings a sigh of relief to many parents of children who live in fear that should their child accidentally consume the slightest bit of peanut; they’ll be in for a long visit to A&E.

The new treatment is a powder made from peanuts to be taken orally. It comes in colour-coded capsules up until the maintenance phase, when it comes in sachets. The powder can be taken with applesauce or yoghurt for convenience, so long as it doesn’t dissolve in what it’s mixed with.

How does the treatment work?

The treatment is labelled a kind of ‘oral immunotherapy’. The idea behind it is quite simple really, involving carefully administering tiny amounts of the allergen and increasing dosage over time (taken orally). Thus, slowly allow the body to become used to the allergen and hopefully cause less of a reaction should the patient accidentally consume a small amount of peanut.

The first stage is administered under doctor supervision.  This has been coined the ‘initial dose escalation phase’ and is consumed in a single day. The second stage of the treatment consists of 11 dosage increases over several months. Again, the first dose of each up-dosing level is administered under medical supervision, in case of any severe reactions. This is a precautious measure due to the potential for allergic reactions, even anaphylaxis, to occur.

The third and final stage is maintenance, with the drug then taken daily. It must be maintained in order for the treatment to be effective. Should the patient stop taking it, the benefits of immunotherapy are unlikely to persist.

How dangerous is this new allergy treatment?

The new drug is approved on the condition that all doctors administering the drug and those taking it undergo training in a special safety program to minimise the risk, should an adverse reaction occur during treatment.

There is the risk of an allergic reaction at each increased dosage, which is why they first of each increase is taken under medical supervision. There are certainly risks with this new form of treatment, a small number of participants in the study suffered anaphylaxis from an increased dosage, so parents will have to weigh the pros and cons, and determine if this treatment is suitable or not.

Do you know how to use an EpiPen?

How to use your EpiPen

The EpiPen user guide explains that using an EpiPen doesn’t have to be too difficult. If you have been prescribed an EpiPen by your doctor then you need to familiarise yourself with the simple user’s guide. If you or someone you know looks like they are going into anaphylactic shock, then you need to administer epinephrine in order to stop anaphylaxis.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxisitself is a severe allergic reaction which can have devastating consequences. Reactions usually begin within a couple of minutes and it is essential you treat it right away. Watch out for swelling of the glands, widespread flushing of the skin, and also nettle rash! Common signs of anaphylaxis, particularly when peanuts are involved include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. An allergy test may help you to identify what your symptoms are and what is causing them, but it will not cure your allergies.

How do you do it?

So, how do you use an EpiPen?

1) Remove the Pen

Hold your EpiPen and unscrew the yellow cap from the container, then you should slide out the EpiPen.

2) Remove the Gray Safety Cap

Take off the grey safety cap from the back of the EpiPen. If you do not do this, then it will not work as the cap has to be removed.

3) Inject the Epinephrine

You do not have to remove any clothes in order to use the EpiPen. Hold the EpiPen with your hand in a fist, and then press the black, rounded tip hard into the thigh. Count to ten whilst you hold the instrument in place. Remember it can penetrate the clothing.

4) Immediately call 999

If you are experiencing an allergic reaction then you should immediately call 999. Even if you don’t think it is an allergic reaction, you should never take a risk, especially as epinephrine is only a quick fix. Sometimes, it could even be necessary to provide a second dose of epinephrine.

Remember, and we must emphasise this, please dispose of the epinephrine properly. Do not just chuck it away.

Allergy testing is essential

With food allergies becoming more common in children, there is a massive need for people to be aware of what to do. Many doctors recommend that parents always carry automatic epinephrine injectors that can be used if their child has an anaphylactic reaction. The same applies if they were an adult.

An allergy test can help you to identify your allergies or intolerances but do you know what to do if you have an allergic reaction? Depending on your allergies and reactions, it is likely that you will have to use an EpiPen.

If you would like further information on ordering an allergy test or an intolerance test, then please do not hesitate to check out our website at

Coping with Allergies On Holiday

Having an allergy flare-up while on a hard-earned holiday can really put a dampener on things. Also, there’s much to think about when you’re preparing to jet off abroad, like making sure your case isn’t too heavy for the baggage allowance or whether your passport is in date or not.

What often gets overlooked in all the commotion of preparing for a break is how any allergies you have are going to be managed whilst you’re away. This can be a real concern, particularly if you have a severe allergy. So, to allay any of your pre-holiday fears, we’ve written this article to give you a few pointers on avoiding any unnecessary and unpleasant reactions and one includes taking a Lifelab allergy test.

Avoiding Allergies on Holiday

Taking an allergy test is an extremely effective way of putting your finger right on exactly what triggers your body to react. There are millions of people that have allergies and just cope with them but aren’t 100% sure about what causes them. Having an allergy test can really change the landscape for someone who suffers from the adverse reactions caused by an allergy, by putting that person back in control. 

Do Your Preparation

Before you go to your destination of choice, the internet can be of great help to dealing with allergies. By researching the local area, its cuisine and its facilities, it is possible to paint a pretty accurate picture of what to expect when you get there. The hotel you’re staying at is another useful sounding board to use, to find out exactly what options you have.

Allergies are a problem for people all around the world, so the chances are, they’ll be able to give you some good advice on circumventing the problem during your stay.

Learn the Lingo

Ok, so we’re not suggesting that you try and learn the whole language of the country you’re visiting, rather, just some key phrases to help you in restaurants. Being able to converse with your waiter or whoever’s preparing your food will help you a) avoid unknowingly eating or drinking something that triggers a reaction and b) enjoy more choice when eating.

Don’t worry if you’re not great at languages, as most smartphones have travel apps to help you get around the problem….and there’s always Google Translate!

Ensure Everyone in Your Party Knows 

If you’re in a sizeable travelling party and you’ve not told everyone about the allergies you’ve discovered from taking an allergy test or any of the foods you’re not able to eat, you’re putting yourself at risk. You may not be involved in ordering everything you end up eating in a large group, so everyone must be told. Also, make everyone in the party aware of where you keep your allergy EpiPen if you have one- and how to use it – so that they know what to do and where to look, should the worst happen.

Make Sure Your Insurance Covers You

Not all travel insurance covers you for the medical treatment needed when something like anaphylaxis strikes, so checking the small print of your policy is a very good move. You don’t want to find out that it doesn’t cover you right at the point it’s needed the most.

If you would like to find out more about anything mentioned here or would like to order your own Home allergy test that checks you against dozens of potential allergens, you’ll find we have a range of four tests for you. There’s even a handy ‘live chat’ box for you to speak directly to one of our friendly Lifelab Testing experts about how an allergy test can free you from the misery that allergies can cause.

We thank you for reading our blog and if you’re about head off to warmer climates, we hope you enjoy your holiday.

Click Here to read our blog on A Family with Allergies about a wonderful lady and her children who suffer from a huge range of reactions.