• Peanut Allergy

    Peanut allergy is the most common life-threatening food allergy in children.  It is often lifelong.  Occasionally it may be outgrown.  Children with peanut allergy often cannot stand the smell of peanut butter, may refuse to touch it, and do not want to stay around when peanut butter is being eaten.

    Researchers have identified several risk factors for peanut allergies that can’t be controlled. These include being born into an atopic family (one with a history of allergies) and having certain types of skin conditions, like eczema. Parents can help protect children by avoiding use of peanut oil-containing lotions and feeding babies soy formulas. Current recommendations for atopic families are that women not eat peanuts while pregnant or nursing and that peanuts not be fed to kids until age three.

    What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to peanut?
    An allergic reaction to a food usually begins within 2-4 hours.  Typical immediate allergic reactions to foods include hives, or blotching around the mouth, which may spread to the rest of the body, immediate runny nose, sneezing and itchy watery eyes, coughing, choking or gagging, wheezing and trouble breathing, and cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.  The allergic reaction can stop at any stage, or may progress to anaphylaxis and death.

    What should I do if my child developed an allergic reaction to peanut?

    If an allergic reaction to peanut begins, use the EpiPen immediately as soon as any allergy symptoms develop!  Take the patient to hospital immediately, preferably by ambulance.

    What other foods may use peanut?
    Peanut butter may be used as a “glue” to hold foods together, e.g., egg rolls, rice squares.  Peanut butter or peanut flour may be added to barbecue sauce or other foods, e.g., chili, plum sauce, curry sauce, and pasta sauce Peanut may contaminate foods manufactured on the same machines as similar foods without peanut, e.g., cookies, breakfast cereals, cheese and crackers, chocolates, chocolate candies, raisin covered chocolates, ice cream.

    What is the treatment for peanut allergy?

    At present, there is not cure. Currently, avoidance of all peanut products is the only safe way to manage peanut allergy. Labels should beread carefully for peanut products. Peanuts are commonly found in different types of cuisine, candies, andbaked goods, so make sure to discuss this with restaurant staff when eating out. Many allergists willrecommend that peanut allergic individuals also avoid tree nuts (ex. almonds, cashews, walnuts) and productsmade on machinery used to process peanuts because of the risk of contamination.

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