Peanut Allergies in Children

An allergic reaction to peanuts occurs when the immune system responds to the protein contents of peanuts, identifying it as harmful for the body, by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream like histamine. This exaggerated response can be as mild as to cause a running nose or as fatal to cause life threatening allergic reactions also known as anaphylaxis.

Causes of peanut allergy in children:

Peanut Allergies
The causes of peanut allergy are related to exposure to peanuts in various ways and frequent intake of common and uncommon food items that can initiate peanut allergy symptoms in a child.

There are three ways a child can be exposed to peanut allergens:

  • Direct contact with nuts or peanuts
  • Indirect contact, that is, through products that contain peanuts or simply handling peanut products
  • By inhaling peanuts, that is through the air or dust like peanut flour and peanut cooking oil spray

The most common food items that contain peanut allergens are the following:

  • Peanut butter
  • Ground nuts
  • Pastries and cookies
  • Salad dressings
  • Grains and cereals
  • Nougat
  • Peanut flour

The uncommon food items that contain peanut allergens are the following:

  • Chocolate candies
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flavored nuts
  • Peanut oil

Other causes or risk factors that can cause peanut allergy in children:

  • If you have a family history of allergies
  • An individual history of peanut allergy
  • If infectious diseases have altered your immune system

Symptoms of peanut allergies in children:

These are the common signs of children having contracted peanut allergies.

  • Itchy skin, eyes, mouth and throat
  • Swelling up of the face especially around the eyes
  • A running nose
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Weak pulse rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulties

Diagnosis or testing for peanut allergies in children:

Doctors who suspect peanut allergy in children can advice you to make your child undergo a number of tests to detect his or her allergic reactions and symptoms to peanut allergens. These are the tests that a doctor can carry out and/or suggest for your child:

  • Immunology tests
  • Blood tests
  • Skin prick tests

Preventive measures to treat peanut allergies in children:

Ensure a safe and ready environment to fight peanut allergies in your child by following these tips which can prove to be helpful for you as well as your child.

  • Encourage your child and other family members to wash their hands with an antiseptic handwash.
  • Consult your doctor about providing tasty but safe and nutritious meals for your kid.
  • Notify friends, family and teachers about your child’s allergic reactions and the remedies to treat the allergy symptoms.
  • Discourage your child from sharing foods.
  • Write and action plan and carry it with you always.
  • Also let your child carry a medical alert list attached to his or her bracelet or necklace.

Treatment options for treating peanut allergies in children:

  • Antihistamines can be given to reduce the symptoms of peanut allergies.
  • Adrenaline or epinephrine injection can be given in case of an emergency.
  • Remove peanuts or peanut related food products from your child’s diet.
  • Feed small amounts to help your child develop a tolerance to peanuts and peanut products.

About 1.5 million today are suffering from peanut allergy in the United States and this trend is increasing by the day as people are not taking care of their health and eating patterns. Always notice your child allergic reactions to foods and learn to cure them off the allergy symptoms that can make them weak and weary.