[This is part of the series: The 101 Of Food Allergy OIT.]
So what is OIT?
In the food allergy world, “OIT” stands for: Oral Immunotherapy Treatment.
In broad terms, OIT involves one ingesting a specified amount of their food allergen on a daily basis.
And then periodically – under medical supervision – the dose is increased.
Obviously, the doses begin incredibly small and go up as a tolerance is built.
For many, the goal is for one to be able to eat an entire serving of the food they are allergic to without incident.
Obviously, goals may not be the same for all patients.
So take someone who was allergic to, say almonds.
“Graduating” from OIT treatment often entails eating one serving of almonds without reaction.
To maintain tolerance, patients continue on a daily maintenance dose after graduation.
Some undergo observation for sustained unresponsiveness.
I typically explain it by saying that OIT is a little like allergy shots.
However, the food allergen is eaten, rather than injected.
While I do not think that successful OIT completion is technically an allergy “cure,” the goal is to desensitize one’s body to their food allergen, and allow one to live a more “normal” life.
Most importantly, OIT completion takes away the fear of anaphylaxis.
For so many people who have been living with that fear for so long, even learning about OIT can be a little bit of a psychological rollercoaster.
The idea of eventually not having to read labels – come again?
Or – stop the world – even having food X in the house can make one feel like they need a therapist.
Please remember that OIT is a medical treatment.
This process should only be done under the supervision of a board-certified allergy doctor.
Please do not try this at home.