Frequently Asked Questions
What is the goal of this process?
The number one goal is safety; to allow the patient to ingest the allergenic food and foods that contain the allergenic food without worrying about it.
What is the first step?
After a consultation is performed with one of our doctors, we would perform both skin and blood testing to check the current status of your child’s food allergies. If it appears your child may have outgrown one or more of the foods they were previously deemed allergic to, then we would perform food challenges. We will not recommend a food challenge unless we think your child has a good chance of passing that challenge. If your child passes the food challenge then they do not need to undergo OIT for that food.
Can my child’s IGE (Allergy Blood Test Result) be “too high” for OIT to work?
There is some research out there that children with low allergen specific IgEs have an easier time during OIT, but multiple children with allergen-specific IgEs greater than 100 have been successfully treated with OIT.
How long will the entire process take?
On your first day of the procedure (“Day One”) your child will get multiple, increasing doses of the food over approximately 4 hours in our office. We will then see you every week for approximately 1 hour to have the dose increased under our watchful supervision. This is called the build-up phase and can take a minimum of 6 months. Once this is completed, your child will be able to “free-eat” the food they were once allergic to. This means as long as they take their daily dose, they can eat any additional amount of the food throughout the day.
How much of the food will my child need to eat daily during the maintenance phase of the oral immunotherapy process?
Maintenance dose for peanut and most tree nuts is 8 nuts daily. Other examples of maintenance doses include 2 tablespoons of liquid egg white, 8 ounces of cow’s milk, 8 ounces of soy milk or 5.6 grams of sesame seed.
My child has a severe food allergy and reacts to "trace amounts" of an allergen. What happens if my child reacts to a dose on day one?
The doctors and staff at Bless You Allergy & Asthma Staff will be monitoring your child closely on Day One. If your child reacts to a dose, the appropriate medical intervention will be taken, and your child will go home taking a dose lower than the one he or she reacted to, daily for the next week. Reacting to a dose during day one will likely add a few weeks to your child’s OIT schedule, but it doesn’t prevent your child from completing OIT.
How is the dose given?
In the beginning, your child will start with the “Solution Phase” where a very small amount of the food is mixed with a flavored drink mix until the dose gets large enough to where the child can eat the food itself. While in the “Solution Phase” the dose will be given in a syringe for the child to drink. Since there are no preservatives in the food, it needs to be refrigerated at all times.
What if my child does not get immunizations or is behind on scheduled immunizations?
Your child must be up-to-date on all scheduled immunizations before starting any of the oral immunotherapy programs.
I've heard that my child can't exercise during their treatment. Is this true?
After taking their daily dose, they will need to avoid activities that could raise their heart rate or core body temperature for 2 hours. This could include exercise or taking a hot shower. This rule is in place since exertion within the 2 hour rest period will increase their chance of having an anaphylactic reaction.
Can my child still play sports while doing OIT?
Yes. We have many patients who have an active lifestyle and play competitive sports. We will help you find a daily dosing time that works well with your child’s sports schedule so they are able to adhere to the 2 hour no-exercise period. We offer both early morning and late afternoon appointments to accommodate our patients.
How is the oral immunotherapy program billed and what does it cost?
The Day One procedure is billed as a Rapid Desensitization Visit. Subsequent up-dosing visits are billed as an oral challenge. The actual assignment of patient responsibility and reimbursement varies by insurance plan. Our office will help provide you with an estimate of what your insurance covers. We always encourage our patients to call their insurance provider to verify their benefits.
Are there any costs for OIT other than the office visits?
There is a $200 fee for supplies needed during the OIT program (scale, bottles, syringes, etc.) that will not be filed with insurance and paid on Day One of OIT treatment. There is also a $100 holding fee which will be applied to your deductible once the process is started. There are additional fees ($30 per food/per month) for any solutions needed after the first three months, as well as a $50 fee for solutions that have to be replaced or supplemented outside of office hours, as well as shipping costs if you are outside of the Friendswood area. Once you are off of food solutions you will be buying the foods used for the up-dosing day and doses at home.