What You Need to Know About a Peanut Allergy


Did you know that Peanut (legume) Allergy affects nearly 2% of the population and is one of the most common causes of death due to food allergies? There are three things that characterize peanut hypersensitivity:

  • Reactions are extremely violent and life threatening with minor exposure to the allergen.
  • The allergy is likely to persist throughout life.
  • It’s often associated with other non-legume allergies (tree nuts, or certain seeds for example) and seed allergy. Peanut and tree nut allergic reactions coexist in one third of peanut allergic patients.

The most commonly reported symptoms seen with this kind of allergy include: atopic dermatitis (eczema), hives, asthma, anaphylactic shock and digestive symptoms.

Common places you will find peanuts, peanut oils or trace amounts of peanut include:

  • Peanut, groundnut
  • Peanut butter
  • Baked goods – pastry, biscuits, cookies, crackers, health bread
  • Asian foods – Thai, Chinese & Indonesian dishes
  • Vegetarian foods
  • Cold pressed (crude) peanut oil
  • Muesli and other cereals
  • Ice creams
  • Soups
  • Natural flavoring
  • Egg rolls
  • Health foods – nutrition and energy bars and other sweets
  • Sauces

As with most allergies, avoidance is key. Make sure you read all labels for foods, medicines, cosmetics, creams and ointments that may contain any type or amount of peanut. A history of allergic reactions shortly after exposure to peanuts might suggest an allergy. However, this should be confirmed with a skin prick test or RAST. Talk to one of our board certified allergists about a complete diagnosis.

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