Wednesday, April 10, 2024
HomeExclusiveHow Did Peanut Allergies Start

How Did Peanut Allergies Start

Princeton Researcher Digs Into The Contested Peanut

Treatment helps 6 year old overcome peanut allergy

The path of the peanut from a snack staple to the object of bans at schools, day care centers and beyond offers important insights into how and why a rare, life-threatening food allergy can prompt far-reaching societal change, according to a Princeton University researcher.Before 1980, peanut allergies were rarely mentioned in medical literature or the media, said Miranda Waggoner, a postdoctoral researcher at the Office of Population Research in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her article on the subject, “Parsing the peanut panic: The social life of a contested food allergy epidemic,” was published recently in the journal Social Science & Medicine. Starting around 1990, articles in medical journals began discussing the seriousness of peanut allergies, Waggoner said. At the same time, advocacy groups were emerging to raise awareness of the issue. By the mid-1990s, newspapers were printing articles with headlines such as “Nut Allergy Girl’s Terror; Girl Almost Dies from Peanut Allergy.” And the 21st century brought descriptions of peanut allergies in medical journals and the media as an epidemic.For those with a peanut allergy, ingesting the legume can lead to anaphylactic shock and, if untreated, death. But the allergy is quite rare and it isn’t clear whether it is becoming more common, Waggoner said.

What Will The Doctor Do

If your doctor thinks you might have a nut or peanut allergy, he or she will probably send you to see a doctor who specializes in allergies. The will ask you about past reactions and how long it takes between eating the nut or peanut and getting the symptoms, such as hives.

The allergist may also ask whether anyone else in your family has allergies or other allergy conditions, such as eczema or asthma. Researchers aren’t sure why some people have food allergies and others don’t, but they sometimes run in families.

The allergist may also want to do a skin test. This is a way of seeing how your body reacts to a very small amount of the nut that is giving you trouble. The allergist will use a liquid extract of the nut that seems to be causing you symptoms.

During skin testing, a little scratch on your skin is made . That’s how just a little of the liquid nut gets into your skin. If you get a reddish, itchy, raised spot, it shows that you may be allergic to that food or substance.

Skin tests are the best test for food allergies, but if more information is needed, the doctor may also order a blood test. At the lab, the blood will be mixed with some of the food or substance you may be allergic to and checked for antibodies.

Can You Suddenly Become Allergic To Peanuts

Food allergies are much more complex than some people imagine and theres a lot we dont fully understand, including exactly why some people develop food allergies and others do not. While food allergies are most often diagnosed in childhood, they can be diagnosed anytime throughout the lifecycle. In addition, food allergies may be more transient than we first believed, as research shows that some people who have become tolerant of an allergy through immunotherapy lose protection when they stop immunotherapy. In addition, significantly more adults than children report convincing food allergies. Lets take a look at the what the research tells us about food allergy prevalence and some important considerations.

How many people have food allergies?

Do food allergies develop more often in childhood or adulthood?

According to an earlier study of 1,111 medical charts of food allergic adults from an allergy clinic, approximately 15% of these allergic adults had developed their food allergy during adulthood.; The most common time frame for food allergy development in this population was in their 30s. The five most common food allergies in this adult population were shellfish , tree nut , fin fish , soy , and peanut . Like the previous study mentioned, these patients did not undergo oral food challenges, which is a significant limitation to the study. In addition, the data was collected from just one clinic.

Don’t Miss: Is Pine Nuts A Nut Allergy

Why Do Children Become Allergic To Peanuts

Children of any age can experience an allergic reaction to peanuts. In many cases, the first time eating a product containing peanut traces is enough to set off a reaction. The reason for the response is an overactive immune system that identifies proteins in the peanut as a threat. An antibody called immunoglobulin E is produced which causes chemicals to be released. The result is an allergic reaction one that could potentially be life-threatening.

There is no single reason why so many kids are allergic to peanuts today, but some factors that contribute to this issue are described below.

Multiple Allergies

Having other allergies increases the chances of having a peanut allergy. For example, suffering from hay fever makes it more likely that you will become allergic to different foods over time.

Family History of Allergies

If other family members have a peanut allergy, there is a greater chance that a child will respond badly to the food.

Undeveloped Immune System

Peanut allergies are often experienced at a young age, when the immune system is still developing. Some kids grow out of the allergy, but many experience allergic reactions throughout their lifetime.

Lack of Vitamin D

The Truth About Peanut Allergies In Kids

Do you know a child with a peanut allergy? The FDA just ...

Its no surprise that peanuts are often feared by parents the number of kids with peanut allergies has tripled in the past 15 years.

But peanuts can be your babys food friend. Really!

New research shows that introducing small amounts of peanut products to your baby can help your child avoid being among the 1 in 50 kids with a peanut allergy.

In fact, giving a little peanut butter or mixing in peanut powder with other foods can ward off allergic reaction to peanuts and prevent peanut allergy development in some people, according to new guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Recommended Reading: What Is In Mucinex Allergy

Tree Nuts And Related Allergies

Keep in mind that a sudden walnut allergy may also mean that you’ll have a sudden allergy to almonds and other tree nuts. You may also have a sudden peanut allergy, despite the fact that peanuts are a legume rather than a tree nut. You might even develop an allergy to pollen or something else that is seemingly unrelated.

This is due to cross-reactivity. According to a June 2015 study in the World Journal of Methodology, cross-reactivity occurs when your immune system has a response to similar allergenic molecules.

Closely related species, like different nuts within the tree nut family, can consequently induce the same type of allergic response. Cross-reactivity can also occur when two unrelated species share a similar protein structure. For instance, 70 percent of people who are allergic to birch pollen are also allergic to nuts, especially hazelnuts.

Because tree nut allergies can be very serious and even deadly, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, World Journal of Methodology and the Mayo Clinic all recommend avoiding these foods if you’ve discovered you’re allergic to them. If you suspect a sudden tree nut allergy, you should talk to your doctor.

If you’ve developed a sudden walnut allergy but aren’t sure if you’re allergic to other tree nuts, your allergist can help you determine which nuts you can safely eat or need to avoid. The doctor will also be able to help you determine any cross-reactive allergies you may have.

Can You Get A Peanut Allergy Later In Life

Allergy is nothing but the body over-reacting to certain things that are usually not considered to be harmful to the body. Many people have allergy from different foods and elements, chemicals or even scents. Usually, the allergy becomes prominent in a young age. However, in some cases, you can develop allergy at a later life.

Also Check: Best Carpet For Allergies

A Peanut Allergy Myth

Contrary to urban legend, a childs peanut allergy cannot be triggered by a classmate eating a peanut sandwich across the table. The allergens are not airborne in this way.

Younger children do need to be monitored so they dont share foods accidentally. Wash eating areas and hands with soap and water after eating so a smudge of peanut butter doesnt accidentally get transferred to a child with an allergy.

However, it is not necessary to ban all peanut products from a school because one child is allergic. Peanut allergy is just one of many food allergens. Talk with your allergist about common safe practices for school. There are many resources available to help manage school safely for a child with food allergies.;

Contributed by: Megan O. Lewis, MSN, RN, CPNPDate: April 2018

Have An Emergency Plan

What Do Allergies Do To Your Insides?

If you have a nut or peanut allergy, you and a parent should create a plan for how to handle a reaction, just in case. That way your teachers, the school nurse, your basketball coach, your friends everyone will know what a reaction looks like and how to respond.

To immediately treat anaphylaxis, doctors recommend that people with a nut or peanut allergy keep a shot of epinephrine with them. This kind of epinephrine injection comes in an easy-to-carry container. You and your parent can work out whether you carry this or someone at school keeps it on hand for you. You’ll also need to identify a person who will give you the shot.

You might want to have antihistamine medicine on hand too for mild reactions. If anaphylaxis is happening, this medicine is never a substitute for epinephrine. After getting an epinephrine shot, you need to go to the hospital or other medical facility, where they will keep an eye on you for at least 4 hours and make sure the reaction is under control and does not come back.

Read Also: Can You Suddenly Develop Allergies

Know The Signs Of An Allergic Reaction

The Mayo Clinic is a trusted resource for food-allergic information and highlights the following:

The most common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

Food Allergies: What You Need To Know

Theyre frustrating, mysterious, and increasingly common. Learn how to protect yourself from a potentially dangerous allergic reaction.

By admin

Food allergies are a growing public health concern, with the prevalence of food allergies in children increasing 50 percent from 1997 to 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.;

Today, up to 15 million Americans have a food allergy, including 4 percent of all adults and 5 percent of children, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Whats behind the increase? Over the past several decades, our diets, lifestyles, and how foods are processed and introduced into the diet has changed dramatically, says Sonal R. Patel, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at the Hungtington Asthma & Allergy Center in Pasadena, California.

Heres what you need to know about common food allergies, including how to spot, avoid, and treat them.;

Recommended Reading: What Is Intradermal

Epipen: Where It All Began

The EpiPen has been the number one prescribed epinephrine auto-injector for 25 years. EpiPen is the brand name of an auto-injector that contains one dose of ephinephrine. This medication is required when someone has a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, a life-threatening response to something that you are allergic to.

Each auto-injector contains one dose that must be injected into the outer thigh. After using the EpiPen, the person with an allergic reaction should go to a hospital emergency room immediately. This is because the person may need further treatment, or in case another allergic reaction occurs.

Available for Children and Adults

EpiPen is made in regular size for adults and in EpiPen Jr for children. Most doctors recommended that it should be used at the start of a life-threatening reaction in which the person has a variety of symptoms that affect the body. These may include itching and swelling of the lips and mouth, tightness or itching of the throat, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness, passing out, and a weak pulse. Someone who is having anaphylaxis may also have itching of their skin, hives, redness, and swelling of the skin. Stomach responses can include cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Modeled After a Military Device

What Foods Should I Avoid If I Have A Peanut Allergy

Prevent Peanut Allergies  Start Early ...

Adults with peanut allergies must be vigilant to avoid accidental exposure to peanuts or peanut-containing foods. Also, be mindful of any foods containing tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and pecans; people with peanut allergies may also be allergic to tree nuts.

According to Kids with Food Allergies , around 35 percent of American toddlers with peanut allergies will also develop tree nut allergies. For those with severe peanut allergies, also be wary of cross-contamination and cross-contact. Always read labels on packaged foods and be careful while eating in restaurants.

Peanuts may be hidden in a lot of common foods, including:

  • African, Asian, and Mexican foods
  • cereal and granola

You May Like: How To Cure Tannin Allergy

Peanut Allergy Vaccine To Rewrite The Immune System

by University of South Australia

Peanut allergies could become a thing of the past as breakthrough research from the University of South Australia develops a radically novel vaccination that’s poised to cure the potentially life threatening condition.

The vaccine uniquely uses a virus-based platform to rewrite the body’s natural response to peanut allergens, causing it to elicit a non-allergic immune response in lieu of an allergic one.

Developed in partnership with Biotechnology company, Sementis and UniSA’s Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory, the vaccine has the potential to help millions of people. Now, funding from the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation will help evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine in humans.

Peanut allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies peanuts as an allergen signalling immune cells to release chemicals resulting in adverse reactions that can range from mild hives, cramps, nausea and vomiting to life threatening anaphylactic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Severe allergic reactions can include impaired breathing, swelling in the throat, a sudden drop in blood pressure, dizziness, and even death.

Globally, the incidence of food allergies and related life-threatening anaphylaxis is increasing, with the World Allergy Organization reporting 220-550 million people are affected.

Project lead, Dr. Preethi Eldi says the new peanut allergy vaccine has great potential to change lives.

Explore further

Why Are Nut Allergies So Common

Asked by: Anthony Wyvill, Harrogate

Possibly because most people now eat far more nuts and peanuts than they used to. There is a genetic basis to many allergies, but some have to be primed before they have any real effect. One theory is that mothers in developed countries are now eating more nuts and peanuts when they are pregnant. This means their babies are primed for the allergy even before they are born.

Another suggestion is that with concerns over exposure to the Sun, parents are now applying far more moisturising creams and lotions to their babies. These often contain low-grade peanut oil which might then prime the allergy. It might explain the association between eczema and peanut allergy in children, because such lotions are applied to soothe the itching.

However, some research shows that early exposure to peanuts can prevent later allergic reactions. Children in countries where lots of nuts are eaten from infancy do not show the high levels of allergy common in Western countries.

to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.

  • Pay by Direct Debit and get 3 issues for £5*
  • Receive every issue delivered direct to your door with FREE UK delivery

Don’t Miss: Clarentin

Can You Treat A Peanut Allergy

The common assumption about allergies is that you need to avoid contact with the responsible allergen. While this approach will help you avoid an allergic reaction, with peanut traces prevalent in so many products, it is quite difficult to maintain avoidance. If you want to live without worry about accidentally consuming peanuts, you should consider oral immunotherapy treatment.

Oral immunotherapy involves eating small amounts of peanut protein until the immune system builds up a tolerance. The amount of peanuts you eat is gradually increased over the course of a year, desensitizing you to the allergen. Oral immunotherapy has proven to be an effective response to peanut allergies, and is performed by a limited number of experienced allergists.

What Tests Help Diagnose A Peanut Allergy

How to Deal with Peanut Allergies

Your healthcare provider may use a blood test to diagnose a peanut allergy. A blood test called an immunocap radioallergosorbent checks the number of antibodies in your blood. A higher number of certain types of antibodies can indicate an allergy.

Your healthcare provider may also use a skin test to identify or rule out multiple types of allergies. During a skin test, your provider:

  • Makes a few tiny needle pricks in your back or arm.
  • Applies small doses of different types of allergens where you have needle pricks.
  • Montiors your skin reaction and interprets them after 15 minutes.

Skin patches that become red and itchy indicate an allergic response. Your provider can use this information to diagnose allergies.

You may also have an oral food challenge. During an oral food challenge, you eat tiny, increasing amounts of a peanut-based product in your healthcare providers office. Your healthcare provider has emergency medication and equipment on hand in case you have an allergic reaction.

Read Also: Can A Person Develop Allergies Later In Life


Most Popular