Peanut allergy develops when the body's immune system has an abnormal, hypersensitivity response to the peanut proteins. This allergy is one of the most common food allergies in both children and adults. It receives particular attention because it’s the leading cause of anaphylaxis, the most severe and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. Even tiny amounts of peanuts can cause a serious reaction to the people having peanut allergy.
Signs and symptoms includes
An allergic response to peanuts usually occurs within minutes or up to several hours after eating foods containing peanuts. Symptoms may progress from mild to severe and vary from person to person, and a person experiencing a peanut allergy may have any one or a combination of these symptoms:
Runny nose, skin reactions, such as hives, redness or swelling, itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat, digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, tightening of the throat, shortness of breath or wheezing, etc.
Risk factors for peanut allergy include
- Age: Food allergies are most common in children, especially toddlers and infants. As they grow older, their digestive system matures, and their body is less likely to react to food that triggers allergies.
- History of peanut allergy: Some children with peanut allergy outgrow it. However, even if you seem to have outgrown peanut allergy, it may reoccur.
- Family history of allergic conditions: Such as asthma, particularly eczema (atopic dermatitis) and hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
- Other factors: Exposure during pregnancy and lactation, exposure to peanut protein through household dust, and exposure to skin-care products containing crude peanut oil.
How to prevent Peanut Allergy
To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid peanut and peanut products. Always read food labels to identify the ingredients.
Avoid foods that contain peanuts such as:
- Ground nuts
- Mixed nuts
- Peanut butter
- Peanut flour
- Arachis oil (another name for peanut oil)
- Cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil
Complications of peanut allergy can include anaphylaxis. Adults and childrens who have a severe peanut allergy are especially at risk of having this life-threatening reaction.
Consult your doctor or seek emergency treatment if you have had any signs or symptoms of peanut allergy, especially if you have any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis.