A peanut allergy is a reaction triggered by the body’s immune system. When the body comes into contact with peanuts, the immune system treats the nuts as harmful substances and releases chemicals into the body.
There are several peanut allergy causes, but the main reason someone would suffer a reaction is due to directly consuming peanuts or products containing them. Some people have such a severe reaction that simply touching peanuts or inhaling their residue can cause allergic symptoms. People with the condition often suffer from a peanut butter allergy.
Scientists began studying the peanut allergy in the 1940s. There is no peanut allergy cure, but it is possible to make a person less sensitive to the nuts. Desensitization is done by having a person with a peanut allergy consume small amounts of the products at a time to build up a tolerance.
Because an allergic reaction to peanuts can be life threatening, people with the condition have to be careful. They should read all food labels thoroughly to ensure that items do not include peanuts or peanut oil. When eating in restaurants or at other people’s homes, they need to ask if foods were prepared using peanut products.
Parents of small children have to warn teachers and caregivers about their children’s allergy. They need to tell children to avoid exchanging food with others so there is no risk of them accidentally eating peanuts. Parents have to teach the children to recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction so they can alert adults if there is a problem.
Mild peanut allergy reactions are usually treated with an antihistamine like Benadryl. People with severe allergies generally need epinephrine shots to control the symptoms. They usually carry the medication with them in case they come into contact with peanuts and experience a serious reaction. They may require a trip to the emergency room to treat their symptoms.
Anyone who has a peanut allergy should consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know to seek help if they have a severe reaction.