West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The results from a study in Europe show that a small tolerance for children allergic to peanuts could be built up by introducing kids to increasing levels of peanut flour.
The news comes as a source of hope for many parents of children who are allergic.
"It lessens the reactivity or it requires a lot more peanut, so parents will be much more assured that with a small ingestion, the child wouldn't have a severe reaction," said Dr. R. Douglass Markham with the Allergy Partners of the Midlands.
Dr. Markham says these studies have also taken place in the United States, but are only available at medical centers because of the risks involved.
"Some people had severe reactions when they tried it, so how do you predict which one is going to," said Dr. Markham. "Even doing this very careful thing that works in most kids, it doesn't work in all of them."
The study took place over the course of two six-month phases, and at the end, most of the patients were able to tolerate the equivalent of ten peanuts a day, but allergists warn it's not a cure.
"If they get enough, the kid still reacts so this is only lessening the sensitivity to small amounts, this is not allowing some child to eat peanut butter every day," said Dr. Markham.
Dr. Markham believes the data could help similar studies become publicly available within the next few years by determining which children are eligible for treatment.