Peanut Allergy

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the United States. Peanut allergy is usually very serious, and potentially fatal. It is usually a lifelong allergy. The most severe reactions require an emergency shot of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room.

A peanut allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly interprets the proteins in a product containing peanut as a harmful substance. When a person with this allergy comes in contact (touching, breathing or eating) with peanut, the body produces antibodies to fight the harmful substance, and this triggers an allergic reaction.

The most common reactions include rash (atopic dermatitis), redness and swelling around the mouth, hives (urticaria), asthma, stomachache, cramping, diarrhea or vomiting, asthma, and in extreme cases anaphylaxis. Reactions can occur within minutes or several hours after consuming the allergen.

Peanut Allergy Facts

If you suspect you have a peanut allergy, avoid all foods that contain peanuts, and please see a board certified allergist or immunologist as soon as possible. A skin prick test or RAST can confirm the allergy. (Do not use antihistamines for 7-10 days prior to the test.)

Note – If you are nursing a baby and suspect or know the baby has a peanut allergy, do not eat any foods containing peanut. The protein is passed through breast milk. Also, consult with your pediatrician before switching formulas.

Warning – You might read that peanut oil is safe for people with peanut allergy. This is not true. Some people with peanut allergy react adversely to peanut oil, and some don’t. My daughter Emma had a severe reaction after eating French fires fried in peanut oil. Check with your physician before consuming it.

Which Foods and other Products Contain Peanut?

If you have a peanut allergy, please take care to read labels thoroughly. Peanuts can be hidden in a many different products, both food and non-food. Examples include bird seed, medicines, cosmetics, creams, lotions, and ointments, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, craft materials, conditioners, pet food, vitamins, and more. Always read all labels for foods and personal products. Manufacturers occasionally change recipes and manufacturing processes.

Note - Adopt the rule, “No label, no thank you!” Read the ingredient label every time you purchase a product. The ingredients can change at anytime. When eating out at the house of family or friends, or in a restaurant, do not eat a food if you don’t know the exact ingredients and how it was prepared.

Foods Containing Peanuts

If you have a peanut allergy do not eat these foods.

Foods Likely to Contain Peanuts, Peanut Oils or Trace Amounts of Peanut

Read labels carefully. If you are unsure whether or not the product is safe, call the manufacturer and ask. If there is no label, and you cannot determine the ingredients, do not eat the product.


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