Peanut allergy is body reaction that arise when eating peanuts or peanut-based foods. The reaction can be itching on the skin, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Nuts are one of the best types of foods to consume, as they contain complete nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Some types of nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, or walnuts, have the same nutritional content.
Peanut allergies are one type of food allergy that most children experience. However, peanut allergies can also be experienced by older persons. When experiencing peanut allergies, treatment is necessary immediately to prevent a heavier allergic reaction, namely anaphylactic shock.
Peanut Allergy Causes
Peanut allergies occur because one type of the body’s immune system known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) overreacts to proteins contained in nuts. When the substance enters the body, IgE will secrete a substance called histamine that causes various allergic symptoms.
It is not yet clear what caused this. However, it is known that people who have a history of allergies in the family and people with asthma are more susceptible to peanut allergies.
Peanut Allergy Risk Factors
People with certain risk factors have a greater chance of developing peanut allergies. Here are the risk factors for peanut allergies:
Food allergies are most common in children, especially toddlers and infants 14 months to 2 years old, it can even continue into adulthood. In adulthood, the digestive system has matured, and the body tends to react to foods that trigger allergies.
History of Peanut Allergy
A person who has a history of peanut allergies at the age of children, then reappears in adulthood.
If you have an allergy to some type of food, the likelihood of having a peanut allergy increases.
Genetic ancestry of parents or siblings who have peanut allergies is also a risk factor for a person having a peanut allergy.
Peanut Allergy Symptoms
Peanut allergies can occur in anyone, both children and persons. A person with this allergy can show an allergic reaction, even if he eats only a small amount of nuts or foods containing peanuts. Reactions from these allergies can appear ranging from mild to severe levels, it can even threaten your life, called anaphylaxis.
This allergic reaction arises because the body secretes histamine compounds fight foreign substances. Some of the common reactions that can arise are:
- Reactions to the skin: hives, red spots on the skin, swelling, and rash
- The reactions of the respiratory tract: runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing
- Reactions to the digestive system: abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps
- Itching around the mouth and throat
- Itchy, watery, or swollen eyes.
These various reactions can appear a few minutes to several hours after you eat the nuts. Reactions may vary between individuals. It all depends on your body. In fact, reactions can appear differently at different times in the same person.
The reaction that arises after consuming peanuts should certainly be dealt with immediately. When left unchecked, allergic reactions can get worse. Moreover, nuts are one of the allergens that most often cause anaphylactic reactions or anaphylactic shocks compared to other allergens.
Anaphylaxis is a condition in which you experience an allergic reaction similar to a regular allergic reaction but with a more severe condition. In addition, anaphylaxis will be followed by a shock reaction in the form of a drastic drop in blood pressure and swelling in the throat that makes you short of breath. You could have lost consciousness due to the appearance of this reaction.
Learn more about Common Allergy Symptoms and Based on Types, and When To See A Doctor
Peanut Allergy Diagnosis
To determine the condition of peanut allergies, at the initial examination, the doctor will conduct a complete and thorough medical interview, especially regarding the type of peanut consumed, how much is eaten, and from when the allergy symptoms take place. The doctor will also perform a physical examination to see the symptoms of allergies that occur.
Furthermore, further examination will be required to confirm any peanut allergies. Unfortunately, ensuring the presence of peanut allergies from blood tests or skin checks is quite difficult. It even sometimes shows negative results.
The most common way of checking is to eliminate food. Patients are asked not to eat any foods containing peanuts for two to four weeks. After that it will be assessed the improvement of the symptoms. If after performing peanut elimination, allergy symptoms improve, then it can be confirmed that the patient does have a peanut allergy.
Another way that can be done is to do a food challenge test. In this examination, the patient will be given peanuts in small doses. Then the doctor will make observations to see if any allergy symptoms appear.