Peanut Allergy Symptoms
Peanut allergy is a hypersensitivity to proteins causing an overreaction of the immune system, which in a small percentage of people may lead to severe physical symptoms. The most feared reaction to peanuts is having life-threatening anaphylaxis. It is estimated to affect 0.4-0.6% of the population.
Symptoms of peanut allergy are related to the action of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other anaphylatoxins, which act to release histamine and other mediator substances from mast cells (degranulation). In addition to other effects, histamine can cause bronchospasm (constriction of the airways). However, not everyone who has a peanut allergy has this type of catastrophic reaction. Some people have milder symptoms such as eczema, hives, and digestive problems.
Early onset symptoms of an allergic reaction
- Swelling of the lips, throat face and skin
- Flushed skin
- Stuffy nose
Severe symptoms of an allergic reaction
- Rapid drop in blood pressure
- Bronchial tubes narrow, causing wheezing
- Dizziness and confusion
- Rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Passing out
- Anaphalatic shock
What you can do
If you’ve had any kind of a reaction to peanuts, see an allergist and get a blood test to confirm the allergy. A repeat exposure can be much more serious than the first. The new component-resolved diagnostic testing (CRD) can help pinpoint just how allergic you are. It can identify whether you have proteins in peanuts that are considered to be more dangerous or proteins that are less dangerous.
Hope is on the horizon
Though a peanut allergy diagnosis can seem like a lifetime sentence, there is hope on the horizon. Many researchers are testing the concepts of oral immunotherapy, that is, giving the teeniest amounts of peanut protein to those that are allergic to allow them to build up a tolerance to the protein. To date, the studies are proving safe, and some are showing that children can build a tolerance. More research is needed to show the safest and most effective way to do this and who is (and isn’t) a candidate for it.
Contact us today and make an appointment to get tested.