Peanuts are among the most common food allergies today. In fact, approximately 3 million Americans have an allergy to peanuts and/or tree nuts.
If you or your child has peanut allergies, there are some important facts that you need to know. Here, we’ll discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for peanut allergies to help keep you and your loved ones healthy.
What Are The Symptoms of a Peanut Allergy?
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to peanuts will typically develop very soon after peanut exposure and may include:
- Skin redness and swelling
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchiness and/or a tingling sensation in the mouth and tongue
Peanut allergies can also cause anaphylaxis, which is a severe, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction. Along with the symptoms listed above, anaphylaxis can cause a swollen throat or tongue, airway constriction, a fast, weak pulse, dizziness, and fainting.
How Are Peanut Allergies Diagnosed?
Like many other types of allergies, peanut allergies can be diagnosed with a skin test.
- Skin prick tests
A skin prick test, or STP, involves placing a small amount of the allergen on the surface of the skin on the back or forearm. Then, your doctor will gently prick or scratch the skin so that the solution enters your body. Typically, within 30 minutes, the results of the test will appear – if a skin reaction occurs, you are allergic to the allergen.
- Intradermal skin tests
An intradermal skin test is another type of allergy test. It involves injecting a small amount of an allergen, such as peanuts, beneath the skin’s surface. If a skin reaction develops (generally within about 20 minutes), the patient is diagnosed with a food allergy.
How Are Peanut Allergies Treated?
Treatment for peanut allergies generally depends on the severity of the case. Mild symptoms of a peanut allergy can often be treated with over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines. For severe peanut allergies, the patient will usually need to completely avoid peanuts and foods that may contain traces of peanuts. Some patients will be advised to keep an epinephrine pen with them for emergency treatment if accidental exposure occurs.
To learn more about managing peanut allergies, schedule an appointment at Kratz Allergy & Asthma today.