We often see peanut allergy warnings on food packaging. This label is necessary because peanuts are one of the most common food allergens.
Allergic reactions to peanuts can be severe and may manifest early in life. So, it’s crucial to have this diagnosed right away to prevent any life-threatening reactions. Here’s how a peanut allergy doctor near me diagnoses this condition.
Peanut Allergy Symptoms
During an allergy attack, the immune system overreacts to fight substances normally not harmful to the body. The white blood cells generate antibodies that trigger histamine and chemical release in the blood, causing your allergic response.
Symptoms for peanut allergy can be mild or severe, depending on your condition. An allergic response typically happens a few minutes after exposure. Common peanut allergy symptoms are:
- Skin reactions (hives, redness, swelling)
- Itching in or around the mouth and throat
- Digestive problems (diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting)
- Throat tightening
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Runny nose
Severe peanut allergy can also cause anaphylaxis. Peanuts are the leading cause of food-induced anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening reaction. These require an epinephrine shot and even a visit to the emergency room. Indications of anaphylaxis include:
- Airway constriction
- Throat swelling and difficulty in breathing
- A drastic drop in blood pressure when in shock
- Rapid pulse rate
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or loss of consciousness
Individuals having an anaphylactic shock should receive medical attention right away. If not treated on time, the attack may result in an extreme airway constriction, causing your breathing or heart to stop. Cases this severe will need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other immediate emergency treatments.
Peanut Allergy Diagnosis
Children and adults are both at risk of a peanut allergy and its complications. Risk factors include family history, age, and other allergies. The best way to confirm this food allergy is to get diagnosed by a peanut allergy doctor. Being informed is the best way to save you from severe allergic responses in the future.
Diagnosis starts with a discussion about your symptoms and medical history. Some questions your peanut allergy doctor might ask are:
- When did you notice the symptoms?
- How long did it take for the symptoms to appear after you ate peanuts?
- How much did you eat?
- Did you take allergy medications like antihistamines? If so, did they help?
- Is your reaction only triggered when eating peanuts? Are there other foods that trigger it as well?
- How severe are the symptoms you experienced?
- What seems to improve and to worsen your response?
A physical examination follows shortly after the discussion. After your assessment, your peanut allergy doctor may ask you to do the following:
Keep A Food Diary
A food diary is a record of your daily meals, eating habits, symptoms, and medications. Diligently jotting down these details will help your peanut allergy doctor craft an appropriate treatment plan for you.
Adopt An Elimination Diet
Your peanut allergy doctor may recommend an elimination diet if the cause of your symptoms is still uncertain. You will remove peanuts and other suspected foods from your diet for a week. After that, your doctor will ask you to reintroduce these foods to your diet, one by one. The doctor will then try to find a connection between the foods and your symptoms.
Undergo A Skin Test
Your peanut allergy doctor may make you undergo a skin test. This assessment involves placing a small number of peanuts on your skin. A needle then pricks the target area. If it elicits a reaction or if a bump appears, then you might be allergic.
Take A Blood Test
A blood test works by quantifying your immune system’s response to peanuts. Your doctor will measure the number of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your blood. High IgE numbers indicate an allergy.
Peanut Allergy Doctor Near Me in Northeastern Illinois
Peanut allergy is among the most common food allergies, occurring in both children and adults. This condition can be life-threatening. So, it’s crucial to visit an allergist if you start experiencing any allergic symptoms after eating peanuts.
For peanut and other food allergy-related concerns, you may consult with us at Oak Brook Allergists. Our board-certified team members are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies. After establishing a diagnosis, we will develop a personalized food allergy action plan for you. We utilize various management and avoidance strategies against food allergies.
Don’t ignore your food allergy symptoms! Allergy help is just a few clicks away. If you wish to set up a consultation with us, you may call us at (630) 574-0460 or request an appointment online. You may also visit us at our four locations in Elmhurst, DuPage, Naperville, and Plainfield.