Step right up and watch a TikTok user with a severe allergy to carrots consume a daily dose! Will she suffer a reaction? Will she experience full-blown anaphylaxis and have to use her EpiPen? Could she die? Who knows! Subscribe to her channel and find out!
This is not the narrative of tonight’s Hallmark movie; it’s real and the young woman who practices ad hoc OIT on herself has amassed a following of over 600,000 subscribers waiting to see what her next dose will bring.
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) for the treatment of food allergies is a straightforward process: starting with a minute quantity, the patient consumes ever increasing doses of their allergen over time in an effort to train their immune system to tolerate it.
While not a cure, the aim of OIT is to induce sufficient tolerance to an allergen that accidental exposure will no longer cause a serious reaction. The therapy has brought many a level of relief from the constant fear of anaphylaxis knowing that incidental contact with their allergen will not result in an epinephrine stick and a trip to the emergency room.
That said, OIT is not without risks for reactions and anaphylaxis which is why the therapy must be administered under the supervision of an allergist and why up-dosing of the allergen — taking the next step up in dose along a planned course of therapy — must always be done in the doctor’s office. This is so the patient can be monitored for a time after ingestion to ensure there are no severe reactions and to administer epinephrine and call emergency services if there are.
Here is the first in a series of hundreds of videos that launched the user’s channel. Please note that we have obscured the user’s handle so as not to encourage additional subscribers. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
Needless to say we find these videos reckless and dangerous: this young woman is placing herself at serious risk as well as her impressionable followers that might try the same on their own.
We have reached out to TikTok to report her videos as dangerous and urge those familiar with her content to do likewise. These posts pose a serious threat and must be removed.
Has your child seen these videos? Even if they are not TikTok users, the content is making the rounds on other social media platforms as well as via text and instant messaging.
It is imperative that parents of kids with food allergies discuss these videos and teach them NEVER to try ingesting an allergen on their own! OIT must NEVER be attempted unless under the direction and supervision of a trained medical professional!
Please share this warning with parents of food allergic children and teens in your circle.