If your child has a peanut allergy, you are definitely not alone, the numbers of children with this affliction has more than doubled in the last few years. Unfortunately, peanut allergy isn’t usually one of those things kids outgrow, it is usually a lifelong condition.
Peanuts are actually not in the “nut family”, they are in the legume family, which includes peas, beans, lentils and soybeans just to name a few. Even though your child is allergic to peanuts, it doesn’t mean they will be allergic to any of these other legumes and just because your child is allergic to peanuts, it doesn’t mean that they are also allergic to tree nuts, but you should be careful of them since there is a 35% chance of this happening.
Of all the food allergies, peanut allergies and tree nut allergies are the leading cause of anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening reaction in which swelling affects the whole body and can obstruct the airway. Not everyone who is allergic has the same reaction. Symptoms can range from tingling in the mouth, hives, rash, abdominal cramps, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness or anaphylaxis.
Even if you or your child has had only a mild allergic reaction in the past, there’s still a risk of a more serious future reaction.
Peanut allergies can be very scary for both the parents and the child. Even the smallest kids are more aware of the dangers of their allergy than we may realize. In a recent study, it was reported that children allergic to peanuts were more afraid of eating something that may cause a reaction than diabetic children were afraid of low blood sugar.
Because a peanut allergy is less likely to be outgrown than allergies to other foods, it is becoming more common among older kids and adults. It’s likely that more Americans are allergic to peanuts than any other food.
Because allergy shots create too much of a risk of a severe reaction, people who are allergic to peanuts should carry an epinephrine shot with them at all times. This is a pre-filled syringe filled with the epinephrine in the correct dose that your child can administer to their self easily, right through their clothes.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment except strict avoidance of the offending product. While this may sound simple enough, avoiding peanuts is often a difficult task. You must be very vigilant in avoiding peanuts, be aware of the possibility of contamination and always be prepared to deal with a reaction.