So You’re Child Has a Peanut Allergy?
We all know of someone with a peanut allergy. It is one of the most common food allergies, and also one of the most dangerous. It is advised by medical professionals to always have access to an epinephrine auto-injector, or more commonly known as an EpiPen. This tool allows for a measured dose of epinephrine in event of anaphylactic shock.
Some mild symptoms of an allergic attack are:
- stomach pain
- uterine contractions
More severe symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Drop in blood pressure (feeling weak or faint)
- Chest pain
- Obstructive swelling of lips, tongue, or throat
There are a number of ways test for peanut allergies. If you are showing any symptom, always consult your doctor. They may ask you to keep a food diary, noting everything you eat for a designated time that will also include symptoms, and medications. If it is still not clear as to which food may be causing the reactions an elimination diet may be implemented. You will be asked to omit specific foods from your diet to better determine the cause. There are also more intrusive methods such as a skin test, or blood test. During the skin test, the food in question in placed on the skin, which is then pricked with a needle. If a bump or irritation develops, that is an allergic reaction. A blood test can be done to measure the allergen-type antibodies in the blood, or immunoglobulin antibodies.
Get in the Habit of Reading Labels
Reading all product labels will become natural as you persist. If anything is unclear to you on the label, call the manufacturer to clarify. When eating out at restaurants be sure to ask if the food contains any peanuts or peanut oil. Do not assume that because the last time you purchased a product, or ordered a meal in that same establishment, that nothing has changed. Manufacturers and restaurants may change without warning.
Foods to Avoid
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, this list of foods or ingredients should be avoided:
- Artificial nuts
- Beer nuts
- Cold pressed, expeller pressed or extruded peanut oil
- Ground nuts
- Mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring)
- Mixed nuts
- Monkey nuts
- Nut meat
- Nut pieces
- Peanut butter
- Peanut flour
- Peanut protein hydrolysate