Common Food Allergies:  Peanut Allergy

Perhaps the most common and feared food allergy is a peanut allergy. They are one of the most frequently cited causes of anaphylactic reactions. In reality, peanuts have caused fewer deaths than tree nuts and shellfish; however they still carry a very bad reputation and have been banned by many places.

As with any other common food allergy, it is important to be prudent with a child with an allergy to peanuts and careful avoidance of even minute amounts of peanuts is crucial.

Symptoms of Peanut Allergy

As mentioned, the most severe reaction to peanuts is anaphylaxis. An anaphylactic reaction is systemic and can rapidly progress to anaphylactic shock and death. Other less severe symptoms include hives, tissue swelling, wheezing, asthma, nausea and allergic conjunctivitis. Unlike milk allergy, an allergy to peanuts is usually life long.

Click here for a complete list of symptoms of food allergies.

Peanut Proteins

Peanut protein is the only protein found in peanuts that people can be allergic to. Peanuts are unrelated to nuts that grow on trees, and people allergic to peanuts are usually able to eat tree nuts such as walnuts, pecans and almonds.

Tree nuts are also highly allergenic however, and can also cause anaphylaxis. The two allergies should be differentiated so the diet is not unnecessarily limited

Ingredients that Indicate the Presence of Peanut on a Label

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  • Peanut protein
  • Hydrolyzed peanut protein
  • Peanut oil
  • Cold-pressed peanut oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut flour
  • Mandalona nuts
  • Artificial nuts
  • Nu-nuts flavored nuts
  • Beer nuts
  • Mixed nuts
  • Goober nuts
  • Goober peas

The diet of a child allergic to peanuts can contain a wide variety of foods as long as the ingredients above are eliminated from the diet. If you have any questions or are having trouble planning a diet, make an appointment with us or consult a dietitian in your area. We will be able to ensure your child is eating a balanced diet free of peanuts and peanut products.