Among the most common food allergies in adults and children is a peanut allergy. It is characterized by an immunological response after being exposed to peanuts. For many peanut allergy sufferers, eating food items that were simply processed in a facility that also processes nuts can trigger a reaction.
Peanut allergy symptoms may be mild to severe, and it is in your best interest to see a professional medical allergist for proper control of the peanut allergy. Those who have severe peanut allergies are at risk of anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening response that interferes with breathing.
Reactions to a food allergy vary from person to person, and the reaction can even change as the patient gets older because our bodies naturally change. There is therefore no guarantee that a patient who has always had mild symptoms will remain that way.
Ultimately, an allergist can provide excellent guidance and recommendations for what to do if you have a peanut allergy and if you suffer a sudden allergy attack from exposure to peanuts.
Note the Details of Your Allergy Symptoms
When you see an allergist about your peanut allergy, the doctor will review your medical history and will ask you about what you have experienced. This includes preceding events, specific food exposure, when the symptoms started, how long the symptoms lasted, and how long it took for the symptoms to go away.
Take Emergency Medication as Recommended
Even after you have been officially diagnosed with a peanut allergy and you know to avoid eating them, there will be times when you are unwittingly exposed to the peanut allergen. Allergists only know this too well, so the doctor will explain what to do when you have the allergic reaction.
The doctor may prescribe antihistamines for mild reactions and epinephrine autoinjectors for severe reactions. Sneezing, itching, and stomach discomfort are considered mild symptoms, while swelling of the eyes and mouth, difficulty breathing, wheezing, nausea, and hives are considered moderate to severe.
For a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, it is recommended that you visit an emergency room, since the epinephrine shot may not be enough to prevent anaphylactic shock.
Avoid the Trigger
Allergists usually recommend an elimination diet if there is uncertainty over precisely what you are allergic to. This means avoiding all peanuts, peanut-containing food products, and foods that are processed in facilities that also process peanuts. Exposure to even trace amounts of peanuts or other nuts can trigger an allergic reaction.
Avoidance of peanuts involves checking ingredient lists diligently, and avoiding sharing food with others. Examples of food items that may contain peanuts include baked goods, breakfast cereals, grain breads, soups, and sauces.
Allergists in Northeastern Illinois
If you suspect that you or your child has a peanut allergy, err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment with an allergist immediately. Our experienced physicians at Oak Brook Allergists provide comprehensive allergy care to adult and pediatric patients with food allergies. Since 1962, we have helped people live without fear of their allergies and enjoy a normal and happy life.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling (630) 574-0460 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you keep your allergies under control once and for all!