What causes peanut butter allergy
Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.
As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.
Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:
- tree nuts
- some fruit and vegetables
Most children that own a food allergy will own experienced eczema during infancy.
The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to own a food allergy.
It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often own other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies.
The Grand Peanut Butter Debate
A study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine has had parents talking — and leaving some of them a bit confused!
It reopened a can of worms, or in this case, a jar of peanut butter!
“The study reveals that the incidence of peanut and tree nut allergies in the U.S. quadrupled over the past 13 years,” said Amy Ingram, M.D., physician with Advanced ENT & Allergy. “This is a huge increase and a concern since peanut allergy is the country’s leading food-allergy cause of anaphylaxis and death.”
To rewind, in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents wait until a kid turned 3 years ancient to attempt foods associated with high risk of allergies, such as nuts, eggs and fish. The belief was that infants’ immune systems weren’t ready for these foods.
In 2008, the academy revised the recommendation and concluded that parents don’t own to wait to introduce peanut butter to otherwise healthy babies.
Numerous of the physicians who participated in the study began hypothesizing that avoiding such foods might immediate a more dramatic immune response later.
Since 2008, numerous studies own been conducted to test the hypothesis.
The New England Journal of Medicine published one of the long-awaited results in February, which stated that the introduction of peanuts to children in infancy “significantly decreased” a child’s likelihood of developing a peanut allergy.
Dr. Ingram agrees and explains how the body responds to new foods, such as peanut butter.
“When a new food is introduced to the body, our gut or intestinal system, which houses most of our immune system, begins breaking it below. At this point the immune system decides if it will cooperate with this new food or deny it and create food allergies,” Dr. Ingram said. “By introducing the food earlier and with some frequency, the body has more time to process the food and work toward accepting it as a normal part of our dietary routine.”
The revised study incorporated peanut butter into a child’s routine by including a half teaspoon three times per week.
“It’s significant to note that feeding your kid peanut butter once with no reaction doesn’t make them allergy-free,” Dr.
Ingram said. “But by including peanut butter or peanut products as part of their menu three to four times per week, it will permit you to watch for any type of reaction that may develop.”
Once you own incorporated peanut butter, or any new food, into your child’s meal plan, you’ll desire to start watching for signs of a food allergy.
“Someone with a nut or peanut allergy can own a mild reaction, such as skin irritation or upset stomach,” Dr. Ingram said. “However, if the reaction is more severe, you may see signs of respiratory distress, swelling of the face and/or tongue, and potentially lightheadedness.”
Signs to watch for can include:
- Gastrointestinal system: Symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Respiratory system: Symptoms can range from a runny or stuffy nose; itchy, watery eyes; and sneezing.
This can also trigger asthma with coughing and wheezing.
- Skin: Skin reactions are the most common type of food allergy reactions and can include itchy, red, bumpy rashes (hives); eczema; or redness and swelling around the mouth or face. A rash can happen when a nut or peanut comes in contact with the skin, even without eating it.
- Cardiovascular system: A person may feel lightheaded or even faint.
In the most serious cases, a nut or peanut allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which is a sudden, life-threatening allergic reaction.
A person’s blood pressure can drop, breathing tubes can narrow and the tongue can swell.
Dr. Ingram advises that people at risk for this type of a reaction own to be extremely careful.
“It is significant to plan ahead for handling emergencies of this nature,” she said. “It is best to work with your pediatrician to be prepared for potential risks, including the use of special medication to stop symptoms from getting worse.”
Courtesy Lynne Choate
You can't react to peanuts just from the smell.
But there's a reason this thought persists as a peanut allergy urban legend: If you smell peanuts (or peanut butter), it generally means peanuts or peanut-based products are in your vicinity, and that means you might be at risk for a reaction from peanut dust.
Why Do Some People React?
Reactions that appear to involve the smell of peanuts in the air are really every about what you're actually inhaling.
As I said above, the chemical compounds that comprise what we ponder of as the "smell of peanuts" don't contain peanut protein and therefore don't cause an allergic reaction.
However, peanut dust and little airborne particles of peanuts most definitely can cause an allergic reaction in someone with peanut allergy.
If every you're smelling is peanut butter, it's unlikely any dust or little pieces of peanut are floating in the air—after every, peanut butter is sticky, not dusty. One exception to this law is if you're smelling peanut butter near a nut butter grinder; it's not unusual for upscale grocery stores and health food stores to offer fresh-ground peanut butter, almond butter, and occasionally other types of nut butters.
These machines are a genuine potential risk and you should stay away.
Similarly, if people are shelling and eating peanuts in your vicinity, it definitely can spread peanut dust in the air. That means you could be smelling peanuts (which won't cause an allergic reaction by itself), but also actually inhaling dust and peanut particles (which can cause a severe reaction). This is an issue at stadiums that serve peanuts and in some stores and restaurants that offer free unshelled peanuts for customers to snack on.
In addition, when foods are cooked, they often release oils into the air—oils that can contain allergenic proteins and cause reactions. Boiled peanuts, or certain types of Asian foods that include peanuts and peanut sauce, could pose this risk.
Finally, trace amounts of peanut products can get onto hands and be ingested by someone with an allergy, causing a reaction, even if there's no peanut dust in the air.
So if you smell peanuts, you should be careful to wash your hands before eating or moving your hands near your mouth.
A Expression from Verywell
Just the smell of peanuts won't cause a reaction if you're allergic to peanuts. But the smell can warn you of the possible presence of actual peanut dust or oils in the air, and those can cause a potentially severe reaction. Tread with genuine caution if you're severely peanut-allergic and you believe you smell peanuts.
Thanks for your feedback!
en españolAlergia a los frutos secos y a los cacahuetes
Oh, nuts! They certain can cause you trouble if you’re allergic to them — and a growing number of kids are these days.
So what helpful of nuts are we talking about?
Peanuts, for one, though they aren’t truly a nut. They’re a legume (say: LEH-gyoom), love peas and lentils. A person also could be allergic to nuts that grow on trees, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and pistachios.
When you ponder of allergies, you might picture lots of sneezing and runny noses. But unlike an allergy to spring flowers, a nut or peanut allergy can cause difficulty breathing and other extremely serious health problems.
That’s why it’s very important for someone with a nut or peanut allergy to avoid eating nuts and peanuts, which can be tough because they’re in lots of foods.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Nut Allergy?
When someone with a peanut or tree nut allergy has something with nuts in it, the body releases chemicals love histamine (pronounced: HISS-tuh-meen).
This can cause symptoms such as:
- throat tightness
- itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
- dizziness or fainting
- trouble breathing
- a drop in blood pressure
- anxiety or a feeling something bad is happening
Reactions to foods, love peanuts and tree nuts, can be diverse.
It every depends on the person — and sometimes the same person can react differently at diverse times.
In the most serious cases, a nut or peanut allergy can cause anaphylaxis (say: an-uh-fuh-LAK-sis). Anaphylaxis is a sudden, life-threatening allergic reaction. A person’s blood pressure can drop, breathing tubes can narrow, and the tongue can swell.
People at risk for this helpful of a reaction own to be extremely careful and need a plan for handling emergencies, when they might need to use special medicine to stop these symptoms from getting worse.
Have an Emergency Plan
If you own a nut or peanut allergy, you and a parent should create a plan for how to handle a reaction, just in case.
That way your teachers, the school nurse, your basketball coach, your friends — everyone will know what a reaction looks love and how to respond.
To immediately treat anaphylaxis, doctors recommend that people with a nut or peanut allergy hold a shot of epinephrine (say: eh-puh-NEH-frin) with them. This helpful of epinephrine injection comes in an easy-to-carry container. You and your parent can work out whether you carry this or someone at school keeps it on hand for you. You’ll also need to identify a person who will give you the shot.
You might desire to own antihistamine medicine on hand too for mild reactions.
If anaphylaxis is happening, this medicine is never a substitute for epinephrine. After getting an epinephrine shot, you need to go to the hospital or other medical facility, where they will hold an eye on you for at least 4 hours and make certain the reaction is under control and does not come back.
What Will the Doctor Do?
If your doctor thinks you might own a nut or peanut allergy, he or she will probably send you to see a doctor who specializes in allergies. The (allergy specialist) will enquire you about past reactions and how endless it takes between eating the nut or peanut and getting the symptoms, such as hives.
The allergist may also enquire whether anyone else in your family has allergies or other allergy conditions, such as eczema or asthma.
Researchers aren’t certain why some people own food allergies and others don’t, but they sometimes run in families.
The allergist may also desire to do a skin test. This is a way of seeing how your body reacts to a extremely little quantity of the nut that is giving you trouble. The allergist will use a liquid extract of the nut that seems to be causing you symptoms.
During skin testing, a little scratch on your skin is made (it will be a quick pinch, but there are no needles!).
That’s how just a little of the liquid nut gets into your skin. If you get a reddish, itchy, raised spot, it shows that you may be allergic to that food or substance.
Skin tests are the best test for food allergies, but if more information is needed, the doctor may also order a blood test. At the lab, the blood will be mixed with some of the food or substance you may be allergic to and checked for antibodies.
It’s significant to remember that even though the doctor tests for food allergies by carefully exposing you to a extremely little quantity of the food, you should not attempt this at home! The only put for an allergy test is at the allergist’s office, where they are specially trained and could give you medicine correct away if you had a reaction.
How Is a Tree Nut or Peanut Allergy Treated?
There is no special medicine for nut or peanut allergies and numerous people don’t outgrow them.
The best treatment is to avoid the nut. That means not eating that nut, and also avoiding the nut when it’s mixed in foods. (Sometimes these foods don’t even taste nutty! Would you believe chili sometimes contains nuts to assist make it thicker?)
Staying safe means reading food labels and paying attention to what they tell about how the food was produced. Some foods don’t contain nuts, but are made in factories that make other items that do contain nuts. The problem is the equipment can be used for both foods, causing "cross-contamination." That’s the same thing that happens in your own home if someone spreads peanut butter on a sandwich and dips that same knife into the jar of jelly.
After checking the ingredients list, glance on the label for phrases love these:
- "may contain tree nuts"
- "produced on shared equipment with tree nuts or peanuts"
People who are allergic to nuts also should avoid foods with these statements on the label.
Some of the highest-risk foods for people with peanut or tree nut allergy include:
- Asian and African foods
- cookies and baked goods
- ice cream
- sauces (nuts may be used to thicken dishes)
Talk to your allergist about how to stay safe in the school cafeteria.
Also enquire about how you should handle other peanut encounters, love at restaurants or stadiums where people are opening peanut shells. People with nut allergies generally won’t own a reaction if they breathe in little particles. That’s because the food generally has to be eaten to cause a reaction.
What Happens With a Tree Nut or Peanut Allergy?
Your immune system normally fights infections. But when someone has a nut allergy, it overreacts to proteins in the nut.
If the person eats something that contains the nut, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders and responds by working extremely hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction.
What Else Should I Know?
If you discover out you own a nut or peanut allergy, don’t be bashful about it. It’s significant to tell your friends, family, coaches, and teachers at school. The more people who know, the better off you are because they can assist you stay away from the nut that causes you problems.
Telling the server in a restaurant is also really significant because he or she can steer you away from dishes that contain nuts.
Likewise, a coach or teacher would be capable to select snacks for the group that don’t contain nuts.
It’s grand to own people love your parents, who can assist you avoid nuts, but you’ll also desire to start learning how to avoid them on your own.
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be extremely serious.
Symptoms of a food allergy can affect diverse areas of the body at the same time.
Some common symptoms include:
- a raised itchy red rash (urticaria, or «hives»)
- swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (angioedema)
- an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
Read more about the symptoms of food allergies.
Peanut Allergy Involves Proteins
Your allergy to peanuts actually is an allergy to the specific proteins found in peanuts. These proteins are present in the peanuts themselves, and in foods made with the whole peanut.
The proteins aren't present in purified peanut oil (which is fat, of course, not protein), and that's why most people who are allergic to peanuts can nonetheless consume peanut oil without getting a reaction.
Those specific allergenic peanut proteins also aren't present in the airborne flavor and aroma compounds that create the odor of peanuts. The smell (or odor) of peanuts is contained in smaller organic compounds that are not peanut protein.
Yes, you inhale (and potentially ingest) these flavor and aroma compounds when you smell peanuts, but since they don't contain the problematic proteins, you won't react to them.
In fact, medical researchers own tested this: they exposed 30 peanut allergic subjects to peanut butter and a soy butter placebo for 10 minutes each at a range of one foot.
Although the subjects could smell the peanut butter (and the soy butter, both of which were disguised by a combination of mint and tuna fish to hold participants from detecting which was which), none of them reacted to the peanut butter.
Many of these children had a history of prior contact-based or inhalation reactions to peanuts. The researchers concluded that "casual exposure to peanut butter" shouldn't cause problems in 90% of children who are highly sensitive to peanuts. That's not 100%, of course, so you still should be careful.
In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.
Call 999 if you ponder someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:
- breathing difficulties
- trouble swallowing or speaking
- feeling dizzy or faint
Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.