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Why Do People Have Peanut Allergies

Early Introduction To Prevent Peanut Allergy

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In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy study found that introducing peanut early to infants may prevent peanut allergy. The study showed that the group of at-risk infants who ate 2 grams of peanut three times a week had significantly less allergy to peanuts at 5 years of age compared with infants who avoided peanut.

Based on this study and others, an expert panel of doctors, scientists and public health experts created new guidelines on how to introduce peanut to infants. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released new guidelines in January 2017.

The Spinal Itch Pathway

After the pruriceptive primary afferent has been activated, the signal is transmitted from the skin into the spinal dorsal horn. In this area, a number of interneurons will either be inhibited or activated to promote activation of projection neurons, mediating the puriceptive signal to the brain. The GRP-GRPR interneuron system has been found to be important for mediating both histaminergic and non-histaminergic itch, where the GRP neurons activate GRPR neurons to promote itch

Infection Or Environmental Agent

Hives including chronic spontaneous hives can be a complication and symptom of a parasitic infection, such as and among others.

The rash that develops from , , and contact is commonly mistaken for urticaria. This rash is caused by contact with and results in a form of called . Urushiol is spread by contact but can be washed off with a strong grease- or oil-dissolving detergent and cool water and rubbing ointments.

is marked by the appearance of weals or welts on the skin as a result of scratching or firm stroking of the skin. Seen in 4รข5% of the population, it is one of the most common types of urticaria, in which the skin becomes raised and inflamed when stroked, scratched, rubbed, and sometimes even slapped.

The skin reaction usually becomes evident soon after the scratching and disappears within 30 minutes. Dermatographism is the most common form of a subset of chronic hives, acknowledged as “physical hives”.

It stands in contrast to the linear reddening that does not itch seen in healthy people who are scratched. In most cases, the cause is unknown, although it may be preceded by a viral infection, antibiotic therapy, or emotional upset. Dermographism is diagnosed by taking a and drawing it over the skin of the arm or back. The hives should develop within a few minutes. Unless the skin is highly sensitive and reacts continually, treatment is not needed. Taking antihistamines can reduce the response in cases that are annoying to the person.

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Whats Involved With An Allergy Test

If you think you are allergic to peanuts, see an allergist. Start a food diary before the appointment and keep track of any reactions.

If youve never had a severe reaction, they might suggest whats called an elimination diet. You would cut out peanuts or other suspected foods for a week or longer. Then you would add them back in one at a time to see what might be causing you to react.

Your doctor may also do a skin test, placing a small amount of the food on you and then pricking it with a needle. If you are allergic to peanuts, you will develop a raised bump or reaction.

You may also need a blood test to check to see whether your immune system launches an allergic reaction to peanuts.

Can You Treat A Peanut Allergy

Why Peanut Allergies are Worse than Other Food Allergies ...

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.

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A Severe Reaction: Anaphylaxis

This is a life-threatening allergic reaction and needs emergency treatment. Peanuts are one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis, which can affect several parts of the body all at once.

Your risk may be higher if you have allergies or asthma, a family history of anaphylaxis or if its happened to you before. The FDA has recently approved the medication Palforzia for children aged 4 to 17 with peanut allergiies to help minimize any reaction. While they should still avoid contact with peanuts, it helps reduce the risk of them being life threatening.

Certain people with known peanut allergies should carry an injector. You can get one from your doctor. If the symptoms strike, use your epinephrine injector, such as Auvi-Q, EpiPen, Symjepi or a generic version of the auto-injector..

The signs of an attack can include:

  • Swelling of the throat that makes it hard to breathe
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • A big drop in blood pressure
  • A rapid pulse
  • Blocked airways

Birch And Grass Pollen

Peanut contains proteins that cross-react with birch or grass pollen. Some individuals with these pollen allergies may have oral allergy syndrome to peanut. And, for those who do have OAS, they may experience symptoms with some, but not all, foods cross-reactive to a particular pollen to which they are allergic.

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How To Read A Food Label With A Peanut Allergy

Learning how to read food labels is one of the most important things you can do after developing a peanut allergy. Always make sure that you read the entire label and not just quickly scan for peanuts as ingredients can hide under different names.

Sometimes companies will place advisory statements on their label to say things such as, May Contain or Produced in the same facility as. These are not required by law but are placed there at the discretion of the company. Talk with your doctor about if you should avoid these food labels as well.

In general, I tend to avoid any and all food products that list my own allergies on these advisory statements. You never know if one day cleaning the machines, an allergen was totally washed away or not. I err on the side of caution with my health and recommend you do the same.

Eating Peanuts During Pregnancy

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For expectant mothers, limited evidence suggests that eating peanuts during pregnancy may help to reduce the risk of a peanut allergy in the child. The Growing Up Today Study examined 10,907 children whose mothers provided dietary information while they were pregnant and within one year of pregnancy. Peanut allergies were significantly lower in the children of 8059 nonallergic mothers who consumed more peanuts than those who did not. More evidence is needed in this area. Maternal peanut consumption during pregnancy or lactation had no effect on developing allergy in one study, nor did duration of breastfeeding.

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Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies

A number of methods claim to test for allergies but have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy , the organisation representing allergists in Australia, recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:

  • cytotoxic food testing
  • reflexology
  • Vega testing.

Always speak with your doctor if you are thinking of using a complementary medicine or therapy to test for allergies.

Living With Peanut Or Tree Nut Allergy

If allergy skin testing shows that you have a peanut or tree nut allergy, an will provide guidelines on what to do.

The best way to prevent a reaction is to avoid peanuts and tree nuts. Avoiding nuts means more than just not eating them. It also means not eating any foods that might contain tree nuts or peanuts as ingredients.

The best way to be sure a food is nut free is to read the label. Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state on their labels whether foods contain peanuts or tree nuts. Check the ingredients list first.

After checking the ingredients list, look on the label for phrases like these:

  • “may contain tree nuts”
  • “produced on shared equipment with tree nuts or peanuts”

People who are allergic to nuts should avoid foods with these statements on the label. Although these foods might not use nut ingredients, the warnings are there to let people know the food may contain small traces of nuts. That can happen through something called “cross-contamination.” This is when nuts get into a food product because it is made or served in a place that uses nuts in other foods. Manufacturers are not required to list peanuts or tree nuts on the label when there might be accidental cross-contamination, but many do.

Some of the highest-risk foods for people with peanut or tree nut allergy include:

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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

How Common Are Peanut Allergies


Food allergies now affect around 4 percent of adults and 8 percent of children in the United States, according to the organization Food Allergy Research & Education . Severe allergic reactions are on the rise as well. FARE also notes that the number of children hospitalized because of food allergies increased threefold between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. One type of food allergy thats of particular concern is peanut allergy.

While most common food allergies, such as those to cows milk and eggs, go away during childhood, peanut allergies rarely do. Because peanut allergies are a lifelong condition for 80 percent of people, theres a greater risk of a person eventually having a serious reaction.

Peanut allergies have seen a 21 percent increase among children in the United States since 2010. Almost 2.5 percent of American children may be allergic to peanuts, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology .

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S For Managing The Allergy

Many children develop a peanut allergy early in life. A number of tests can help find out if your child has a peanut allergy. A common one is a skin prick test. Your childs healthcare provider will scratch your childs skin with a small amount of peanut extract. If your childs skin becomes red and swollen in the test area, a peanut allergy is likely.

Its important to know that your child may test positive for a peanut allergy but not have a reaction. Food allergy tests may have “false positive” results. This mean that the test is positive for food allergy, but your child can eat the food without any issues. This may happen if your child has certain seasonal allergies or bad eczema. The healthcare provider will use the test results, a physical exam, and your child’s history of reactions and exposures to help find out if a peanut allergy is likely.

Unfortunately, a peanut allergy cant be cured. And few children outgrow it. So staying away from peanuts and foods that contain them has long been the key strategy for managing the allergy. Many different foods can have peanuts or peanut residue in them. Peanuts can hide in foods such as baked goods, salad dressings, chili sauce, candy, and even pet food.

To help protect your allergic child, follow these tips:

Treatment For Peanut Allergy

As peanut allergy has the potential to cause severe life-threatening reactions and is relatively common, extensive research has been done to look at new forms of treatment. One method that is available privately in some specialist allergy clinics is oral immunotherapy . This is the process of increasing the tolerance of food allergens that are eaten. The concept is that very small amounts of an allergen are introduced and the amount gradually increased until a target amount of the food is reached and maintained. This should never be tried without medical supervision at a specialist centre, where currently it remains the subject of active research programmes. Please contact your GP or allergy specialist if you would like more information.

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Can Peanut Allergy Be Prevented

In 2017, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease issued new in order to define high, moderate and low-risk infants for developing peanut allergy. The guidelines also address how to proceed with introduction of peanut based on risk in order to prevent the development of peanut allergy.

The updated guidelines are a breakthrough for the prevention of peanut allergy. Peanut allergy has become much more common in recent years, and there is now a roadmap to prevent many new cases.

According to the new guidelines, an infant at high risk of developing peanut allergy is one with severe eczema and/or egg allergy. The guidelines recommend introduction of peanut-containing foods as early as 4-6 months for high-risk infants who have already started solid foods, after determining that it is safe to do so.

If your child is determined to be high risk, the guidelines recommend having them tested for peanut allergy. Your allergist may do this with a skin test or blood test. Depending on the results, they may recommend attempting to try peanut for the first time in the office. A positive test alone does not necessarily prove your child is allergic, and studies have shown infants who have a peanut sensitivity arent necessarily allergic.

Although parents want to do whats best for their children, determining what best means isnt always easy. So if your son or daughter is struggling with peanut allergies, take control of the situation and consult an allergist today.

Get Treatment For A Peanut Allergy

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If youre concerned your child has a peanut allergy, dont delay in treating the problem. Dr. Chacko provides allergy testing and effective treatments for children of all ages. Visit us at one of our food allergy treatment center locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek by calling .

Image Credit Albina Gavrilovic/

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Molecular Diversity Of Itch Transmitting Primary Afferents

Using single-cell mRNA sequencing, sensory-modality specific primary afferent have been molecularly defined into clusters based on gene expression patterns. Here, 11 sub clusters were detected NF1-3, transmitting innocuous nociceptive information NF4-5, which transmit proprioceptive information NP1-3, transmitting itch information PEP1-2, nociceptive information and TH, which is involved in pleasant touch, The pruriceptive NP1-3 were shown to express genes related to histaminergic and non-histaminergic signaling, where NF1 expresses genes responding to lysophosphatidic acid , NP2 chloroquine-responsive genes , whereas NP3 expresses neuropeptides Nppb and Sst as well as genes involved in inflammatory itch . The histamine receptor gene Hrh1 was found in NP2 and NP3, suggesting that histaminergic itch is transmitted by both these pruriceptive sub clusters.

Fact No : Trace Amounts Of Peanut Exposure Are Unlikely To Cause A Severe Reaction

If you have a child with a peanut allergy, it can be tempting to steer clear of all products with any trace of peanuts, completely avoiding what experts call precautionary labeling. However, food labels that say things like May contain peanuts,Trace amounts of peanuts, or Manufactured in a facility with peanuts are probably OK, says Dr. Holbreich.

Only 10 percent of products that list may contain peanuts have detectable peanut protein.

According to one study published in the World Allergy Organization Journal, only 10 percent of products that list may contain peanuts have detectable peanut protein. Fear about food allergy is a problem, and some health professionals feed into this by making dire predictions about accidental reactions, says Dr. Holbreich. I reassure families that a peanut allergy is manageable with reasonable precautions, such as avoiding peanuts and foods containing them but not worrying too much about trace amounts. However, he notes that the advice on precautionary labels can vary significantly from specialist to specialist. Always rely on the advice your provider gives you, he says.

Fact No. 3: Death from peanut allergies is very rare.

Fact No. 4: You may be able to prevent peanut allergies.

Introduce peanut foods to infants early on, as young as 4 months old.

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Other Hidden Sources Of Peanuts Not In Food

Beyond food, there are places that peanuts can hide, making you sick even though you dont eat peanuts anymore! While you wont be eating these things, you should be aware that a reaction can occur from touching or smelling peanuts. These hidden peanut places include:

  • Medications
  • Skincare
  • Cleaning Products, especially wood cleaners
  • Lotions
  • Make-up

Make sure you check these places and use the list above to make sure that you and your family are safe from these hidden peanut sources!

Can You Treat Peanut Allergies

The Peanut Allergy Epidemic: What

You wont be able to use antihistamines to treat peanut allergies. But if you have allergic reactions to peanuts , theres actually some light at the end of the sneezy and wheezy tunnel. Thats because peanut allergies are the only food allergies with an FDA-approved treatment.

In 2020, a treatment called Palforzia was approved to mitigate allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, and it can be administered to children ages four through 17 with peanut allergies. It consists of three phases that consist of increasing dosage over time.

Essentially, its a form of allergy immunotherapy that gradually exposes the bodys immune system to the allergen over time. After a while, the body adapts and can shield itself against foreign threats. You can think of it as running .1 miles farther every single day until youre able to run a whole marathon.

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