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Peanut Allergy

Peanut allergy is one of the most common allergies in the world affecting about 1% of the world's population while also being the most common cause of food related death. Peanut allergy has the highest incidence in United States affecting more than 3 million Americans. Learning more about the causes that trigger this common allergy as well as the symptoms can prove to be very important and might even save a life.


Food allergies are caused mainly by an exaggerated immune response triggered by hypersensitivity to common substances from different foods. The causes of peanut allergies are still unknown but it is suspected that having a first degree relative increases the risk of developing this strange allergy.
Studies have shown that delaying the introduction of peanut based products can also increase the risk. The only way for a person to protect herself is by avoiding the exposure to products containing peanut. Exposure can occur either by direct contact,cross contact(exposure to peanuts during processing) or by inhalation.

Symptoms

SymptomsSymptoms vary depending on the severity of the allergy and they will manifest a few minutes after exposure. The mild allergies which are the most common have symptoms like:
  • Skin rashes
  • Urticaria
  • Itching,especially around the eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling

  • More severe allergies can be recognized by the following symptoms:
  • Constriction of the airways followed by the swelling of the throat
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • A rapid drop in the blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Anaphylactic shock (a life threatening reaction)

  • Diagnosis and treatment

    Diagnosis and treatmentIf you suspect you suspect you might be having a peanut allergy reaction the most important is talking to your physician or to schedule a consultation an allergist. The specialist will be able to put a diagnostic based on the analysis of type of symptoms, the time interval between ingestion and the development of the symptoms, a careful history, skin tests, in vitro measurement of food specific IgE or the ''skin prick'' test in which your skin will be exposed to small amounts of proteins found in peanuts.

    The treatment of the peanut allergy focuses only on reducing the symptoms as a definite cure for this allergy was not yet discovered. For mild reactions,histamines are usually prescribed. Corticosteroids are usually recommended to reduce swelling and other symptoms. For more severe reactions injectable epinephrine is usually prescribed as it acts as a bronchodilator . Peanut allergy suffers carry an emergency dose of epinephrine at all times. It is worth remembering,however that the only way to prevent an allergic reaction to peanuts is to avoid all products that might contain



    Tags: peanut allergy, peanut allergy statistics, peanut allergy symptoms, peanut allergy diagnosis, peanut allergy treatment


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