Peanut allergy is the most common form of food allergy.
The severity of the allergy differs from one individual to another; for some, even a tiny peanut can trigger a severe allergic response, while in others, it could be moderate. Therefore, children and adults who have peanuts allergy need to be utmost careful about not consuming them.
Symptoms of peanut allergy
You can observe the allergic response immediately or wait for some time for the symptoms to appear, which characteristically are
- Hives, red spots, rashes and swelling over the skin
- Gastrointestinal problems- stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
- Itching in hands and mouth, watery and swollen eyes
- Tightness and swelling in the throat
- Wheezing and trouble in breathing
Complications of peanut allergy
Peanuts can trigger a severe anaphylaxis reaction, which is undoubtedly life-threatening and can even cause death. The response is so intense that your airways get chocked, your blood pressure falls, you faint, and your heartbeat becomes rapid. Failing to obtain emergency help, the individual can collapse.
Why peanut allergy happens
It’s all about your immune system. When your immune system mistakenly identifies peanuts as a harmful substance, it can overreact and incite an immune response. Chemicals like histamines are released, which bring about the symptoms.
If you are allergic, consuming peanuts directly or peanut-containing foods or even skin contact with peanuts would prove to be dangerous.
When to see a doctor?
If you suspect allergy from food (including peanuts and others) and experience unusual symptoms like those mentioned above, you must immediately check with your doctor.
Diagnosis of peanut allergy
First, your doctor will evaluate the symptoms carefully to sort out a peanut allergy or peanut intolerance (no immune response). You will be asked lot of questions about food history, such as what you eat, how much you eat, and if you had ever noticed such reactions in the past. Explain your doctor correctly.
A skin prick test would be recommended to rule out for peanut allergy. In this test, a tiny peanut will be placed in the forearm, and your skin will be pricked gently through the nut particle. Your skin would turn red and itchy if you are allergic. You will also have to undergo a blood test for measuring the number of antibodies present in your blood.
Treatment for peanut allergy
Antihistamines are usually prescribed to manage the symptoms and reduce the allergy. Those who had severe allergic response are given an epinephrine injection, under emergency care.
How to prevent peanut allergy
- Carry an epinephrine autoinjector with you
Yes, a lot of people do that after taking permission from doctors. Make sure you know how to use it under emergency and do not merely give a try.
- Follow the elimination diet – Say No to peanuts.
Your doctor will let you know what foods to avoid apart from peanuts. It’s simple – do not eat peanuts or foods that contain peanut or peanut extracts like cookies, butter, cakes, etc.
- Do not hesitate to ask when in doubt.
If you are eating in a restaurant or have gone out for dining at someone’s place, ask if the food contains peanuts. So, be sure before eating.