Peanuts are legumes, belonging to the same family as soybeans, peas, and lentils; but cause more allergic reactions than other legumes. A peanut allergy is one of the most common and severe food allergies. Every year, many patients experience anaphylaxis as a result of exposure to peanuts; and in some cases, the anaphylaxis is severe enough to cause death. Peanuts are one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S. Studies show that the number of peanut allergies in children is increasing more each year, and around 50% of the cases of anaphylaxis are due to peanut allergies. For this reason, parents have been waiting to expose their children to peanut proteins. However, recent studies show that when infants are exposed to peanut proteins at four to eleven months old it decreases their chance of developing the allergy. Check with your doctor to see when you can introduce peanuts to your child. Children are more at risk of developing a peanut allergy, but you can get the allergy in adulthood as well. Children of parents who suffer from food allergies are most likely to be allergic to peanuts. Also, people with eczema are more likely to have a peanut allergy and usually have more severe symptoms. Symptoms may develop after direct contact, consumption, or cross-contact. It’s important to know the signs of a peanut allergy in case you develop it. Symptoms Of Peanut Allergy Itchy mouth and skin Hives Swelling Contact Dermatitis Sneezing Asthma Abdominal pain Drop in blood pressure Diarrhea Cardiac arrest Anaphylaxis Peanut allergies cause severe allergic reactions. Even a small amount is enough to induce anaphylaxis. That’s why it’s important to undergo allergy testing as soon as possible. The allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers have provided a list of foods you need to avoid if you show signs of a peanut allergy. Foods That Contain Peanuts And Should Be Avoided Goobers Ground Nuts Groundnut Oil Mandelonas Peanuts Peanut Butter Peanut Flour Cold-pressed Peanut Oil Peanut Protein Hydrolysate (may be used in confections) Satay Sauce & Dishes There is a high probability of cross-reaction between lupine and peanuts. Therefore, you should avoid lupine, a legume which may also be called lupin beans or lupini beans, and is common in Mediterranean cuisine. Peanut-allergic individuals may also want to be cautious about consuming tree nuts. Some types of peanut oil may be safe to consume. Peanut oil is produced by extracting the oil from the peanuts. This can be performed by a variety of methods and can lead to peanut oils with differing levels of purity. Peanut-allergic individuals should definitely avoid “cold-pressed,” “extruded,” or “expeller-pressed” peanut oils because these are likely to contain residual peanut proteins. On the other hand, highly refined peanut oils may be safe for consumption by peanut-allergic individuals. Consult with our NY allergists to determine what is safe for you. Foods That Could Contain Peanuts African Cuisine Artificial Nuts Asian Cuisine Baked Goods Baking Mixes Battered Foods Biscuits Battered Foods Biscuits Breakfast Cereal Chili Egg Rolls Marinade Mexican Cuisine Milk Formula Mixed Nuts Soups Ice Cream Pastries Vegetarian Meat Alternatives Diagnosing A Peanut Allergy A skin prick allergy test can diagnose this allergy quickly and accurately. This test is the most commonly used allergy test and takes just 15 minutes. An allergist will prick your skin with the allergen. If you’re allergic to peanuts, you’ll develop a raised bump on the spot where you were pricked. It is never safe to self-diagnose a peanut allergy. Conducting a food challenge at home poses serious risks. These tests should only be administered in a clinical setting as a last resort. Always contact a board-certified allergist to diagnose your peanut allergy. Since food allergies are often developed later in life, you should get allergy tested regularly. Many doctors recommend getting an allergy test done every two years. This will decrease your chances of you unknowingly developing the allergy and experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Peanut Allergy Treatment There currently aren’t any treatments available for food allergies. However, there are medications to help soothe your symptoms in the event of an allergic reaction. For mild symptoms, over-the-counter or prescription medications can treat itchiness, slight swelling, and asthma. For severe symptoms, you need an epinephrine auto-injector. Epinephrine is the only treatment for anaphylaxis. An EpiPen or Auvi-Q can be self-administered if you have an allergic reaction. Your allergist will determine if you need epinephrine. Frequently Asked Questions Can peanut allergy be airborne? Yes; for patients that are severely allergic to peanuts, even peanut dust nearby can trigger an allergic reaction. Can you outgrow a peanut allergy? There is a slight chance that an individual will outgrow a peanut allergy, but it is not common. Peanut allergies usually continue into adulthood. Are peanut and tree nut allergies the same? Peanuts are not tree nuts. They are legumes, part of the pea family. However, the proteins in peanuts are very similar to the ones in tree nuts. So many patients with a peanut allergy have a tree nut allergy as well. When do peanut allergy symptoms show? Symptoms usually show within minutes of exposure to peanuts. Swelling is usually the first symptom to arise. Conclusion If you are worried that you or your child is allergic to peanuts, the specialists at the NY Allergy & Sinus Centers would like to help. Our doctors & associates will perform necessary testing and work with you to reach an accurate diagnosis. We will also develop a peanut allergy treatment plan to help avoid future incidents. We see both pediatric and adult patients. To make an appointment, call us today at 212-686-4448.