Allergy is a condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally causing body allergy after consumption of certain foods, one such food item is peanut. It is one of the most common food allergies among children as well as adults. It is probably because peanuts contain several proteins which are not present in other food items.These proteins trigger strong immune reactions, causes emission of chemicals that escalates symptoms like nausea, itchy hives and facial, arms, and legs swelling. If you are highly sensitive to peanut allergy you can develop body reaction called anaphylaxis (severe allergy)
Facts about Peanut Allergy
All peanut allergies are not dangerous, some are mild. But if the allergy is severe it is difficult to manage, as severe allergies because whole body reaction called anaphylaxis. The peanuts has many proteins Ara h1,Ara h2 and Ara h3 all these are allergens in peanuts.
Peanut allergy is different from other nut allergies. The symptoms may range from mild to severe.
Let us check some of the symptoms
- Skin itching and rash
- Swelling of face,tongue,arms and legs
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Throat tightening
- Anaphylaxis(a reaction that needs a medical emergency)
- Drop in blood pressure
- Pale skin
Risk factors for Peanut Allergy
- Family History – Your chances for peanut allergy increases, if it runs in your family.
- Age – It is common for children to be allergic to certain foods, as they grow older they may overcome the problem of getting allergic when they consume peanuts, due to the maturity of digestive system. But in some cases the allergy may remain lifelong.
- Allergy to other foods – if the child is already allergic to other foods and has asthma or has seasonal allergy it is more likely that the child is at risk for peanut allergy.
Other risk factors for peanut allergy include prenatal consumption of peanuts, exposure to Rh immune globulin, folic acid or consumption of peanut loaded food during pregnancy increases risk for child getting peanut allergy.
Tests and diagnosis of peanut allergy
- The doctor would ask for symptoms, eating habits.
- Physical examination is done
- Skin test (to check for allergy)
- Blood test (to know allergy type antibodies in the blood stream)
- In emergency epinephrine is the only treatment to interrupt symptoms of anaphylactic reaction.
Preventing peanut allergy
- Avoid consuming peanuts
- Avoid other tree – nuts also as they may be contaminated in manufacturing machinery commonly used for all nuts
- People allergic to peanuts must learn to be aware of different names used for peanuts while purchasing,
- Must read the food labels while purchasing food items, as they may contain traces of peanut in any form.
- Must avoid touching peanuts ,inhaling aroma of peanuts while getting roasted as it may cause wheezing, skin rash and nausea
- In severe allergic cases always carry an epinephrine auto injector to reverse the effects of severe allergic reaction to the whole body