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Facts About Peanut Allergies

peanuts, allergen

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. 1 in 50 children in the UK are susceptible and it can be a lifelong condition.

Peanuts are different to nuts such as cashews and almonds, which grow on trees. They are leguminous plants, which grow underground.   It has been found that up to 40 percent of people who are suffering from a peanut allergy are also allergic to tree nuts.

In England, an estimated 4,000 people are diagnosed with a peanut allergy per year, which equates to 11 per day.  Peanut allergy cases have tripled in the last decade and 30,000 cases are hospitalised due to anaphylaxis every year.   Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction also known as anaphylactic shock.  

Some of the foods that should be avoided by people suffering with a peanut allergy are:

  • Beer nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Nut meat
  • Peanut flour
  • Mixed nuts and many other foods
  • Cold pressed, expeller pressed or extruded peanut oil

The symptoms of peanut allergy are similar to other allergies. Generally, symptoms occur within minutes of exposure to the peanut protein that causes the allergic reaction.

The most common allergic reactions to peanuts are:

  • Tightness in the mouth, chest or throat
  • Swollen throat or face
  • Swallowing and choking
  • Fatigue
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen and itchy lips, eyes and skin
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Coma or even death

It is important that people who suffer with a peanut allergy should be aware of the problem as even a small quantity of peanut can trigger an adverse reaction.  There is no specific treatment to cure a peanut allergy.  

Because peanuts often come in contact with tree nuts during the manufacturing process, patients suffering from peanut allergy should also avoid products containing tree nuts.

Before consuming any item, always check the ingredients on the label. Unfortunately, there are many food products on the market that are incorrectly labelled. Therefore, It is important to be aware that many foodstuffs contain hidden peanuts.   For example:

  • Pancakes
  • Sweets such as cookies, pudding, pies, hot chocolate etc.
  • Pizzas
  • Sauces like hot sauce, chilli sauce
  • Glazes and marinades etc.

I am currently putting together a 'Peanut Allergy Report', which you will be able to download from our website, very soon

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