What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Peanut Allergy

A peanut allergy is a severe, usually rapid, reaction to the ingestion of peanuts. Symptoms range from atopic dermatitis (hives, eczema, etc.) and digestional discomfort to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal constriction of the airways and swelling of the throat.

Though these symptoms are similar to those of other food allergies, peanut allergy symptoms tend to be rather severe and account for the majority of fatal or near fatal anaphylactic reactions in the U.S. (Bock, Munoz-Furlong, & Sampson, 2001; Sampson, 2002).

A Histamine Reaction

For reasons that are unknown, a peanut-allergic person produces massive amounts of histamines as soon as the body starts to digest the ingested nuts. In severe cases, treatment must be administered at once to prevent a fatality. Some extremely sensitive people may have a reaction from simply inhaling trace amounts of peanut.

Although peanuts are a ground nut and a peanut allergy is different from a tree nut allergy, there are similarities. In fact, many peanut allergy sufferers also have tree nut allergies. For many, a peanut allergy is a lifelong problem; approximately 20% of infants with peanut allergy outgrow the allergy.

Peanut Allergy vs Other Food Allergies

It is important for parents to be aware of the difference, which is often a matter of severity, between a peanut allergy reaction and reactions to other food allergies.

Food allergies are extremely prevalent, affecting between 4-8% of children, but most are not as dangerous as a peanut allergy, which affects approximately 1% of children. A peanut allergy is more common in people who have other atopic conditions, like eczema, asthma or hay fever, or who have immediate family with these conditions.

Peanut Allergy On The Rise

Allergic food reactions, particularly peanut allergy, are on the rise, according to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. Peanut allergy causes an estimated 15,000 emergency room visits each year and nearly 100 deaths. Peanuts, along with milk, eggs, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans, for example), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions in the United States. Food allergy-induced reactions are estimated to account for tens of thousands of allergic reactions each year and 30,000 emergency room visits.

As mentioned above, a peanut allergy can be distinguished in the severity of the reaction. In fact, studies by Scott H. Sicherer, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a researcher in the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, suggest that 80% of people with a peanut allergy have had a reaction that involves a breathing problem or that affected multiple areas of their body. He further estimates that 100 to 150 people in the USA die each year from peanut allergies.

References
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations
Asthma & Allergies - American Academy of Pediatrics
Peanut Allergy: A Growing Phenomenon - Journal of Clinical Investigation

Photo: Pexels

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

So many wonderful recipes call for peanut butter. These recipes can still be enjoyed by experimenting with peanut butter replacements.

...

Are you craving sweets? Those with peanut allergies must be especially careful when indulging their...

For those with peanut allergies, baked goods present a serious risk. Many baked goods do not appear to contain peanuts, yet were baked in a...

Those who have peanut allergies know to avoid peanut butter cookies, of course – but what about other...

For anyone who has had a peanut allergy diagnosis, it is necessary to avoid eating peanuts entirely. However,...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you know what's in the face paint often used for Halloween costumes, school carnivals, and other events? If you're worried about smearing...

Vegetable oil is healthy before it is hydrogenated and a process that requires adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. Oils that are often...

Peanut allergies don’t begin to cause problems for people the first time they are exposed to peanuts. Rather, the immune system first develops...

Anxious food allergic kids, understandably concerned about avoiding allergens, can become so restrictive in their food choices that weight loss...

The relationship between anxiety and food or other allergy is a complicated and puzzling one. Research has shown that stress can exacerbate...

Welcome to PeanutAllergy.com. Before you begin you must verify your email address. Please check your email and click on the link and you will...

If you have a food allergy, you will probably need to make some changes to your diet...

When love is in the air we can get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind. However, if you have a...

Just 30 seconds of mindfulness, of quieting our thoughts by being attentive to the present moment, can help manage stress and anxiety.

The...

Those affected by peanut allergy might have heard about basophil activation tests (BATs), a potentially accurate tool for diagnosing food allergy...

When your child has a food allergy, you want to make sure they are safe in school...

It’s the time of year when holiday parties, and family gatherings can make allergen avoidance more problematic. Whether you celebrate Christmas,...

Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise. Almost everyone knows someone who has problems with at least one food. The most common food...