What part of peanut causes allergy
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it.
Research is currently looking at ways to desensitise some food allergens, such as peanuts and milk, but this is not an established treatment in the NHS.
Read more about identifying foods that cause allergies (allergens).
Avoid making any radical changes, such as cutting out dairy products, to your or your child’s diet without first talking to your GP. For some foods, such as milk, you may need to speak to a dietitian before making any changes.
Antihistamines can assist relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction.
A higher dose of antihistamine is often needed to control acute allergic symptoms.
Adrenaline is an effective treatment for more severe allergic symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.
People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies.
Read more about the treatment of food allergies.
What causes food allergies?
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.
Types of food allergies
Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.
- non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system.
This type of allergy is often hard to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).
- IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.
- mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.
Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.
Oral allergy syndrome (pollen-food syndrome)
Some people experience itchiness in their mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, immediately after eating unused fruit or vegetables. This is known as oral allergy syndrome.
Oral allergy syndrome is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in unused fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.
Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn’t cause severe symptoms, and it’s possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.
The Allergy UK website has more information.
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:
- trouble swallowing or speaking
- breathing difficulties
- feeling dizzy or faint
Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.
When to seek medical advice
If you ponder you or your kid may own a food allergy, it’s extremely significant to enquire for a professional diagnosis from your GP.
They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.
Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.
Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended.
Numerous kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are dependable, you should own the results looked at by a health professional.
Read more about diagnosing food allergies.
What is food intolerance?
A food intolerance isn’t the same as a food allergy.
People with food intolerance may own symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps. This may be caused by difficulties digesting certain substances, such as lactose.
However, no allergic reaction takes place.
Important differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance include:
- you need to eat a larger quantity of food to trigger an intolerance than an allergy
- the symptoms of a food intolerance generally happen several hours after eating the food
- a food intolerance is never life threatening, unlike an allergy
Read more about food intolerance.
Sheet final reviewed: 15 April 2019
Next review due: 15 April 2022
No one I knew had food allergy, let alone peanut allergy, when I was a kid.
I grew up at a time when peanuts were given freely on airplanes, and there was no such thing as a peanut-free table at school. Quick forward to today and the world has changed, with food allergies taking on almost epidemic-like proportions.
I am an allergist and became interested in food allergies in 2004 after spending a month working with Dr. Wesley Burks, one of the world’s leaders in food allergy research, at the Duke Allergy Clinic. I was fascinated that a simple peanut could cause the immune system to go haywire. That knowledge inspired me to spend the next six years of medical training learning as much as I could about what triggered food allergies and how to treat them.
This paid off in 2011 when I was invited to join the allergy faculty at the University of North Carolina. Just as I was getting settled into my new life as a doctor and researcher for food allergy, my world changed again.
On a Monday morning in September 2013, I gave my nine-month-old son Elliott peanut butter on toast for the first time, and then it happened. He had a severe allergic reaction: head-to-toe rash, vomiting and coughing.
Suddenly food allergy was genuine to me in a way I could not own ever imagined.
Like numerous other parents, my first emotion was denial. When I finally accepted that he was now one of the estimated 1.6 million kids in the U.S. who own peanut allergy, I hoped he would just outgrow it. Unfortunately, for peanut allergy, almost 80% of peanut-allergic kids hang on to it for life. So just as I had advised numerous families at my allergy clinic, I went to the pharmacy to get our EpiPen and reentered the world hoping to never own to use it.
Professionally, things own changed for me as well.
I’ve spent the final 10 years trying to develop a therapy that can protect kids with food allergies from having severe allergic reactions or even dying. Finally, after years of testing in clinical trials, I’m hopeful that little drops of a peanut solution may bring us one step closer to making this a reality.
Most food allergies affect younger children under the age of 3.
Most children who own food allergies to milk, eggs, soya and wheat in early life will grow out of it by the time they start school.
Peanut and tree nut allergies are generally more endless lasting.
Food allergies that develop during adulthood, or persist into adulthood, are likely to be lifelong allergies.
For reasons that are unclear, rates of food allergies own risen sharply in the final 20 years.
However, deaths from anaphylaxis-related food reactions are now rare.