How Common Is Nut Allergy And Who Gets It
In the UK about 2 in 100 children and about 1 in 200 adults have an allergy to nuts. The number of people with peanut allergy is growing.
Nut allergy is the most common type of severe food allergy. It often starts when children are very young. Most first allergic reactions take place when a child is between 14 months and two years old. Unlike other food allergies such as milk allergy, nut allergy is something that you are unlikely to grow out of. Only about 1 in 5 people with a nut allergy will grow out of it, and these tend to be the people who have mild reactions.
Allergy Rates By Country Suggest That Peanut Allergies Are Most Prevalent Among American Children
The number of children who are allergic to peanuts has tripled in the last two decades. It’s estimated that 1.8 million American children have a peanut allergy.
Canada, UK, and Australia also noted the rise in peanut allergy cases. However, Israel, China, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand, can’t claim the same. There the prevalence of peanut allergies is low. One of the suggested reasons could be that children are more exposed to peanuts containing food at an early age, even when they are babies.
Managing Peanut Allergy And Other Allergies
Having a child with a peanut allergy can be a constant source of anxiety for families. Foods that don’t contain peanut as a listed ingredient can be contaminated with trace quantities of peanut in food preparation or the manufacturing process.
Parents must read all food ingredient labels and avoid restaurants where peanuts are a hazard. In addition, they must be alert for signs of anaphylaxis in their children and always be prepared with an epinephrine injector. Many children with peanut allergy have multiple other food allergies, such as to tree nuts and sesame, which makes avoidance even more difficult.
What Is Nut Allergy
An allergy occurs when your body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, overreacts to a substance called an allergen. Most allergens are not obviously harmful and they have no effect on people who are not allergic to them. Allergic reactions to allergens can vary from mild to life-threatening.
Both peanuts and tree nuts can act as allergens, and can cause an allergic reaction in some people. When you come into contact with something that you are allergic to , a group of cells in your body, called mast cells, release a substance called histamine. Histamine causes the tiny blood vessels in the tissues of your body to leak fluid which causes the tissues to swell. This results in a number of different symptoms.
Strictly speaking, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, in the same family as peas and beans. Peanuts grow underground whereas other nuts grow on trees. The word nut in this leaflet can mean either tree nuts or peanuts.
See also the separate leaflets called and Food Allergy and Intolerance for more information about allergy in general.
The Most Common Food Allergy Symptoms Include Wheezing Diarrhea Skin Rash And Facial Swelling
On the other hand, some people can experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The symptoms of anaphylaxis can appear immediately and become worse rapidly. Some of the most common are tachycardia, streaming eyes and nose, rapid swelling of the lips, face, throat, mouth, vomiting, and even losing consciousness.
A Person With A Peanut Allergy Might Need To Avoid Tree Nuts Anyway
Many people who are allergic to peanuts but not tree nuts avoid eating tree nuts anyway due to the substantial risk that packaged tree nuts will contain peanut fragments or peanut residue from being packaged on the same equipment as peanuts. Some people with a peanut allergy do choose to eat tree nuts, but allergists generally advise that a person with a peanut allergy take care to eat only tree nuts that come from a peanut-free facility. Also, having any one food allergy increases the chances of developing a second food allergy, and consequently, about 30% – 50% of people with a peanut allergy have an allergy to tree nuts as well.
What Percent Of Peanut Allergies Are Life Threatening
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Promising Results Of Treatment Research
The pioneering new study on peanut allergy treatment called the Artemis trial is undertaken at hospitals in Europe, which involved 175 people with peanut allergies from ages four to 17. The participants were given either increasing amounts of peanut allergen protein of a every day.
Participants in the experimental group are given a slightly higher dose every two weeks for six months, before maintaining the dosage for three months.
The results of the trials show that around 58 percent of the participants on the group who received peanut protein could tolerate at least three to four peanuts by the end of the experiment compared to just two percent in the placebo group.
The researchers concluded that their experiment led to rapid to peanut. Still, they warn people that it does not mean that those with peanut allergies can now eat a spoonful of peanut butter. However, the results suggest that allergic reactions can be reduced, especially when they accidentally consume peanuts.
James Redman, 12, one f the participants in the study, said that he can now tolerate eating up to seven peanuts after suffering severe reactions to peanut proteins. He even said it was an excellent experience for him, and he hopes that the study could lead to treatments so that people like him could benefit from it.
Does Your Child Have Peanut Allergy Here’s How To Check
Read on to know what causes peanut allergy and how best to treat it.
As your child grows up, you’ll find that their bodies won’t agree with certain types of food. They may develop food allergies that you should watch out for, whether mild or life-threatening. One of the most common of which are peanut allergies. But what causes peanut allergy and how can you spot it?
have found that peanut allergy makes up for approximately 28 percent of all food allergies among children. While it’s rare for peanut allergy to develop once your child reaches the age of 15, about half of cases of peanut allergy in kids develop before they even have their first birthday.
There is also an increasing prevalence found in Singapore regarding peanut allergy. While only about 0.64% in 4 to 6-year-olds and 0.47% in 14 to 16-year-olds have peanut allergies in Singapore, a recent by Liew et al found that peanut was still the top cause of anaphylaxis in a local paediatric emergency centre.
If you or your child are found to be allergic to peanuts, it’s important to learn all there is to know about it. This way, you can prevent any sudden allergy attacks.
To detect signs of allergies in your child and what causes peanut allergy, here’s what you need to know to best protect your child from an allergic reaction.
Pollen Allergy Statistics Report 10%20% Of Americans Suffer From A Ragweed Allergy
Ragweed allergy, or the most common type of weed pollen allergy, starts in July, reaching its peak in mid-September. Its main symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, and eye swelling.
Furthermore, ragweed statistics show that this plant grows in 49 US states, with the exception of Alaska.
Interesting Food Allergy Facts Say Food Allergies Can Be Inherited
If a parent or a sibling has a food allergy, hay fever, asthma, or eczema, there’s a higher risk that the baby develops some form of a food allergy. However, this is not set in stone. The most commonly inherited allergies include pollen, dust mites, cow’s milk, eggs, and insects.
Facts about food allergies imply that breastfeeding can help prevent its development in babies.
Anaphylaxis Is A Life
Common signs of include hives, a rash, swelling of the lips, throat or tongue, stomach upset, vomiting, dizziness, faintness, coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can sometimes cause serious damage to vital organs, brain damage, or heart failure. Learn more about how to recognize and treat anaphylaxis here.
Who Gets Delayed Anaphylactic Reactions
A 2015 study found that 2 percent of people treated for an allergic reaction at hospital emergency rooms developed a second, late reaction. That delayed reaction occurred, on average, 15 hours after people were first treated. Another found that about 15 percent of children had a second severe allergic reaction hours after their first reaction.
You’re more likely to have a delayed reaction if you:
- have a severe peanut allergy
- don’t get treated with epinephrine quickly enough
- don’t get a large enough dose of epinephrine
- don’t respond quickly to epinephrine
- have low blood pressure during your first reaction
- have a history of delayed anaphylaxis
How Do I Know If A Food Has Peanuts In It
Some foods are obvious sources of peanuts and tree nuts, but some foods that contain trace amounts of peanuts aren’t as easy to spot. Peanuts may be found in baked goods, crackers, sauces, pesto, Asian foods, veggie burgers, nougat, chocolate, ice cream, cereal, granola, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon, and more. Since 2006, federal law requires all packaged foods have labeling of any of the eight most common food allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish contained in that food item. Therefore, the label of any packaged food should indicate whether it contains peanuts and tree nuts. A food label listing allergens looks like this:
You must always check that a food is safe by carefully examining the Allergen Content Label or the ingredient list. Unfortunately, restaurant foods, foods sold at a bakery or ice cream shop, and foods prepared by other people don’t have labels. Avoid eating items that are unlabeled or that you have no information about. Whenever you are eating at a restaurant, be sure to tell the wait staff that you have food allergies and that none of the items you order can have peanuts or nuts. Also be aware that exposures can be caused by cross-contact, such as using the same knife to cut a peanut butter sandwich and then your tuna fish sandwich, or using the same ice cream scoop that has been contaminated with pistachio or maple walnut ice cream for your plain vanilla ice cream.
What Causes An Allergy
An allergy is caused by the immune system fighting substances in the environment that it should see as harmless, known as allergens.
These innocent substances become targets, leading to allergic reactions.
Symptoms range from skin redness, hives and swelling to – in the most severe cases – vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock.
Some of the most common foods for children to be allergic to are:
- tree nuts
What Is Peanut Allergy: Causes And Triggers
Image source: iStock
Essentially peanut allergy is when the body mistakes peanut for a harmful substance. So if you have peanut allergy and you consume it accidentally, your body may fight it just as it would an infection. This can lead to a life-threatening response and can even be fatal.
MayoClinic says that peanut allergic reactions can occur with both direct and indirect contact which can cause your’s child’s immune system to release symptom-causing chemicals in your bloodstream.
To elaborate more what causes peanut allergy, here are various ways in which it can be triggered:
- Direct contact. Of course, directly eating peanuts or foods that contain can cause an allergic reaction in your child.
- Cross-contact. Accidents may happen and your child may unintentionally consume food that has already been exposed to peanuts during processing or handling.
- Inhalation. Inhaling dust or aerosols containing peanuts can also trigger an allergic reaction.
While it still unclear why certain people have allergies while others don’t, there are risk factors that could indicate a higher chance of developing peanut allergies.
A Lot Of Children Eventually Outgrow Milk Soy Eggs And Wheat Allergies
On a negative note, some studies show the process of outgrowing has become slower, compared to the previous decades. Thus, some children are still struggling with allergies even after the age of 5.
While most children outgrow their food allergies to egg, milk, soy, and wheat, allergy statistics imply that in a vast majority of cases, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish allergies are there to stay.
How To Avoid A Reaction
If you know you have a severe peanut allergy, the best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid them. Here are a few tips:
- Every time you shop, read food labels carefully. Packaged foods that contain peanuts are required to include them in the ingredients list.
- When you order food in restaurants, always let the server know that you have a peanut allergy. Ask for your food to be prepared without peanuts, peanut oil, and other peanut-based products.
- When traveling by plane, contact the airline and alert them to your allergy ahead of time. You can request that your flight be peanut-free and ask to have your seat cleaned.
As a precaution, always keep an epinephrine auto-injector nearby. This medication can reverse the symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, but you have to use it quickly for it to be effective.
During a delayed reaction, you may need to administer a second and possibly third dose of epinephrine. See your allergist to learn how to use the auto-injector correctly.
After you inject epinephrine and your symptoms stabilize, go to an emergency room for treatment. Always get medical help to prevent another reaction.
How Common Is Insect Allergy
People who have insect allergies are often allergic to bee and wasp stings and poisonous ant bites. Cockroaches and dust mites may also cause nasal or skin allergy symptoms.
- Insect sting allergies affect 5 percent of the population.13
- At least 90-100 deaths occur each year in the United States due to insect sting anaphylaxis.14
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. . Allergy Facts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . 2018 National Health Interview Survey data. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from
FoodSafety.gov. . Protect Yourself from Food Allergies. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Wood, R. A., Camargo, C. A., Lieberman, P., Sampson, H. A., Schwartz, L. B., Zitt, M., Collins, C., Tringale, M., Wilkinson, M., Boyle, J., & Simons, F. E. R. . Anaphylaxis in America: the prevalence and characteristics of anaphylaxis in the United States. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133, 461–467.
Jerschow, E., Lin, R. Y., Scaperotti, M. M., & McGinn, A. P. . Fatal anaphylaxis in the United States 1999-2010: temporal patterns and demographic associations. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 134, 1318-1328.e7.
Gupta, R., Holdford, D., Bilaver, L., Dyer, A., Holl, J. L., & Meltzer, D. . The Economic Impact of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatrics, 167, 1026.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. . Allergy Statistics..
What You Should Do With This Information
So hopefully now you know a heck of a lot more about peanut butter and food sensitivity than you did before reading this article, but now what?
If you’re a peanut butter lover:
If you’re allergic to peanuts:
Hypoallergenic Dogs Are The Best Choice Of Breed For People Who Have A Dog Allergy
Hypoallergenic dogs have short coats, they shed less, and they don’t have hair, but owning one is not a guarantee that you won’t have an allergic reaction. You can, however, reduce the possibility. How?
While many people believe that dogs’ hair and fur are the main causes of allergies, it’s the dander one should worry about. You can find dander on the dog’s coat or skin. That said, dogs with long fur will leave dander flying around, which means that the possibilities of an allergic reaction will be much higher.
However Peanut Allergies May Be More Preventable Than Most People Think And Heres Why:
Most people discover they have a peanut allergy by accident. And more often than not, those discoveries lead to a lot of confusion and trauma for everyone involved. People who aren’t prepared to face peanut allergies that spring up out of the blue are at a disadvantage.
This is because:
Once people discover they’re allergic, they can proceed with caution and reduce the amount of times an allergic reaction occurs. This can effectively be done by reading the ingredients labels on food, avoiding foods that may have come in contact with peanuts, and checking ahead to see if restaurant food was prepared in peanut oil.
What all of these things have in common is that you do them AFTER the you experience your first allergic reaction. It’s the first time that has the most damaging effect. Luckily, with the technology available today, and some very determined doctors, we now can prevent that first time from ever happening.
So how can people stay one step ahead of America’s largest food allergy?
The Answer Lies In Our Genes
Genes are instructions for building protein molecules, written in our DNA. Different people can have different versions of these genes, known as gene variants.
The field of genetics has advanced so much, that scientists are now able to pinpoint certain variants that make people allergic to peanuts.
It sounds like something out of a movie, but swabbing your cheek to deliver your DNA to a genetics company such as CRI Genetics can now tell you whether you’re allergic to peanuts. But that’s not all. The best part is that it can tell you whether you’re allergic to peanuts or not before you ever have a reaction. The amount of time and lives that can be saved from a simple test is remarkable.
Before this technology was invented, people found out about peanut allergies the hard and scary way: by experiencing an adverse reaction to something they ate. But testing for the gene variant will flip the script. It allows you to diagnose your allergy BEFORE the event of an allergic reaction ever happens.
That’s great and all, but what if I’ve eaten peanuts my entire life and never had a reaction?
Unfortunately, allergies can develop out of the blue at any point in a person’s life.
Aren’t there other methods of finding out if I have a peanut allergy?
Find the best genetics test to take for peanut allergies .
Allergen Advisory Labels Such As May Contain Peanuts Or Manufactured On Shared Equipment With Peanuts Are Entirely Voluntary In The United States And Are Not Regulated By The Us Government
Because labels like this are voluntary, not required, it is not safe to assume that the lack of a warning label means a food is entirely peanut-free. There are no official rules for food companies to follow when it comes to choosing whether to label a food as MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUTS, MADE ON SHARED EQUIPMENT WITH PEANUTS or MADE IN A SHARED FACILITY WITH PEANUTS. A food that is labeled MADE IN A SHARED FACILITY WITH PEANUTS might be made in an entirely separate room from peanut products, or might be made directly on shared equipment with peanuts.
Can Nut Allergy Be Prevented
In the past, the Department of Health advised that atopic pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and their infants should avoid peanuts. However, in 2009, the Department of Health changed their advice. They found there was no evidence that eating or not eating nuts when pregnant made any difference to the chances of a child developing allergy. Since that time they have advised there is no need for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers to avoid nuts.
There is some evidence that introducing peanuts to the diet early on in the weaning process may make a child less likely to develop an allergy to them. Obviously whole peanuts are a choking hazard, so they need to be in a form which is safe for the baby .
Allergy Statistics Uk Say The Number Of Hospitalized Children Due To Severe Allergic Reactions Has Increased By 72%
From 2018 to 2019, 1,746 British children went to the hospital due to anaphylactic shock. This is a much higher number than the one reported in the period of 2013–14 when there were 1,015 hospitalization cases.
London was a region with the highest increase of 167% in the number of hospitalized children , up to 200% for some age groups.
Avoid Nuts Wherever Possible
Preventing an allergic reaction from happening in the first place is a key part of living with a nut allergy. So, learn to recognise foods that may contain nuts and avoid them. You may be referred to a dietician to help with this. Advice may include:
1. Check the ingredients:
- Always check food labels, even for products you know, as ingredients can change.
- Avoiding whole nuts is relatively easy. What is more difficult is avoiding nuts in processed foods. Nuts are not always obviously listed on ingredient labels. For example, peanut can be listed as groundnut, earth nut, monkey nut, mixed nuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, arachis oil and groundnut oil.
- Nuts and nut oils are used as ingredients in a wide range of foods. Take care with biscuits, cakes, pastries, desserts, ice cream, breakfast cereals, cereal bars, nut butters and spreads, confectionery, vegetarian dishes and salad dressings.
- Chinese, Thai and Indonesian dishes often use nuts and nut oil, particularly peanuts or peanut oil.
- Get a list of nut-free foods from your local supermarket.
2. Take care when you are not preparing your food:
Tips For Keeping A Baby Or Toddler With Food Allergies Safe
It’s important to let all your child’s caregivers know about his allergies, how to tell if he is having an allergic reaction and what to do if he is exposed to an offending food.
Always keep safe food on hand , and become an expert at reading food labels .
A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you navigate these issues and develop meals that are safe for your baby or toddler to eat.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect has strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible primary sources. Health information on this site is regularly monitored based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
- What to Expect the Second Year, Heidi Murkoff.