Peanut allergy is a type of food allergy. Peanuts are one of the world’s most allergenic foods.
More than 1.5 million people in the US are affected with peanut allergy.
A peanut allergy is an allergy that is caused by the body’s reaction to particular substances. This is a life threatening allergy reaction.
Cause of peanut allergy:
- The most common cause of peanut allergy is direct contact with peanuts. This means while eating or touching peanuts can cause allergies.
- The other cause of peanut allergy is, when you inhale dust containing peanuts.
- The rarest case in which you can acquire peanut allergy is, during processing or handling of a food product which consists of peanuts.
- Peanut allergy is caused by the overreaction of the immune system. Immune system considers peanuts as the harmful substances and leads to the production of immunoglobulin E antibodies. These antibodies produce histamines which causes allergic reactions to occur.
Common food sources which contain peanut proteins include:
- Salad dressing
- Cereals and granola
- Pecans and walnuts
- Soy products
- Ground nuts
- Frozen desserts
- Peanut butter
- Baked food such as pastries
- Artificial tree nuts
- Asian foods such as Chinese foods
- Sunflower seeds
- peanut oils
- Beer nuts and peanut brittle
- Sauce made with nuts
Symptoms of peanut allergy:
- Peanut allergy symptoms are mild but in some cases they can become more severe. Allergic reaction appears immediately or a few hours after you ate.
- The first symptoms that you face are runny nose, an itchy skin rash such as hives, or stinging in the tongue or lips.
- The other symptoms of peanut allergy include:
- Stomach pain
- Sore throat
- Atopic dermatitis
- Urticaria or hives
- Anaphylactic shock
- Swelling of the digestive tracts
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- Sudden fatigue and rapid heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness, coma or death
Diagnosis of peanut allergy:
- Doctors will conduct the physical examination to identify the main problem.
- In some cases tests like skin test and blood test are also essential to identify the problem.
- In skin test your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of proteins found in peanuts to see if you have a skin test response.
- In blood test, your immune system response to peanuts is tested. It measures the amount of antibodies such as IgE in your blood.
Treatment for peanut allergy:
- There are no special medications for peanut allergy. The best treatment is simply to avoid exposure to peanuts and peanut proteins directly or indirectly.
- Avoid foods that made with peanut oil.
- Avoid cakes and pastries with unknown ingredients, especially carrot cake, pumpkin cake and fruits and nut rolls.
- Be careful with what you are eating and drinking. All food labels, cosmetics, creams and ointments should be read.
- Medications, such as antihistamines help to reduce peanut allergy.
- If you have severe reactions, you may need to take epinephrine with consultation of doctor.