Starting early is key to treating kids allergies

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(Christine Sismondo/ Toronto Star) — It may well be the most wonderful time of the year for a lot of parents but, for those with kids who suffer from food allergies, back-to-school can be incredibly stressful.

For an estimated 15,000 children in the Toronto District School Board, the back-to-school checklist includes not only new backpacks and lunch bags, but also parent-teacher conferences and training your kids that sharing isn’t always caring. In addition, many have to spend time consulting with allergists, making “anaphylactic action plans” and getting epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) prescriptions refilled.

For some parents, though, a little bit of stress is being alleviated by a somewhat controversial new treatment, Oral Immunotherapy (OIT), which helps people with food allergies “desensitize.” There’s no cure for food allergies at this point, but there are a couple of increasingly popular strategies for minimizing the risk—all built around the idea that carefully exposing kids to the allergen will reduce the severity of a reaction in case of accidental exposure. (…)

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