It can happen when a person is exposed to peanut proteins. The body mistakes the proteins as being harmful. This makes the immune system send chemicals into the blood that cause the response to happen.
Exposure to peanuts can happen by:
Eating peanuts, foods with peanuts, or foods that were around peanuts
Breathing in bits of peanuts, such as peanut flour
People with a severe response may need medical care right away.
A mild peanut allergy can be managed. Options are:
The best way to manage this allergy is to avoid peanuts, foods with peanuts, and foods that may have been around peanuts. Always read food labels. Do this even if you do not think a food has peanuts in it. Most labels will state whether the factory where a food was made also works with peanuts. Always ask for the items in homemade foods to check peanuts or peanut oil. Ask if the item was made with kitchen tools that have come in contact with peanuts.
Medicine can ease symptoms. It should only be taken if a person is exposed to peanuts by accident. They may be:
Antihistamines to decrease swelling and itching
Corticosteroids to treat severe swelling and itching
People with severe reactions may need epinephrine. It is injected into the thigh. It needs to be carried at all times.
Women who are pregnant and do not have a peanut allergy may want to eat peanuts.
Babies at high risk of peanut allergy should be introduced to peanuts between 4 and 11 months of age. Babies with eczema or egg allergy should see an allergist before having peanuts. They may already be allergic.
Peanut allergy. FARE—Food Allergy Research & Education website. Available at: https://www.foodallergy.org/common-allergens/peanut. Accessed September 18, 2019.
1/2/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Frazier A, Camargo C, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Young MC. Prospective study of peripregnancy consumption of peanuts or tree nuts by mothers and the risk of peanut or tree nut allergy in their offspring. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;168(2):156-162.