Signs & Symptoms of a Nut Allergy in Kids

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Peanut allergies are common, especially in children. The symptoms can range from a minor irritation to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. For people with extreme sensitivities, even the smell of peanut can cause a serious reaction. For these reasons it is important to take peanut allergies very seriously.

Take any allergic response seriously

It is important to get even minor reactions to peanuts checked out by a pediatrician or allergist. Future reactions can be more serious and it’s important to prepare yourself and the people around you or your allergic child.

What does an allergic response look like?

An allergic response will happen quickly, usually within minutes of exposure to the allergen. Peanut allergy symptoms can include:
- Skin reactions like hives, redness and/or swelling
- Itching or tingling in mouth and/or throat
- Digestive distress like diarrhea, cramping, nausea or vomiting
- Tightening of the throat
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Runny nose

What does anaphylaxis look like?

Food induced anaphylaxis is most often triggered by a peanut allergy. This type of reaction requires medical emergency treatment as soon as possible. Often an epinephrine injector such as EpiPen or Twinject can be used on-site for immediate aid. Symptoms can include:
- Constriction of airways
- Swelling of throat making it difficult to breath
- A severe drop in blood pressure indicating shock
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

What causes an allergic response?

Peanut allergies, like all food allergies, occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies peanut proteins as something harmful. Direct or indirect contact with peanuts with cause the immune system to release symptom-causing chemicals into the bloodstream. No one knows exactly why some people have allergies while others do not. Exposures can come in a variety of ways:
- Direct contact. The most common type is by eating peanuts or peanut containing foods. Sometimes skin contact with peanuts can also trigger a response.
- Cross-contact. This is an unintended contact with peanuts usually occurring when when a food has been in contact with peanuts during processing.
- Inhalation. Inhaling dust or aerosols containing peanuts like peanut flour or peanut oil cooking spray could also cause a reaction.
Source: Mayo Clinic

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