Peanut allergies are on the rise, tripling between 1997 and 2008. Peanut allergy is a common form of allergy that can have life-threatening implications. It needs immediate treatment or it can even be fatal. It is estimated that peanut allergies now affect around 1.2 million children and teens. While most food allergies are found in childhood, peanut allergies tend to persist into adulthood. Less than 20% of kids will outgrow a peanut allergy.
Here are four science-backed tips on how to help keep allergy-free — or living your best life with a severe peanut allergy.
1. Prevent peanut allergy
We now understand that the earlier you eat a food, the more likely your immune system will recognize that it’s safe. Israeli children are often exposed to peanuts as babies, and they have far less peanut allergies than Americans.
However, peanuts should not be your child’s first food. Consult your pediatrician about safely introducing your baby to peanuts. Always start small and only feed your baby a small amount of peanut powder or peanut butter mixed with pureed food and wait 15 minutes. If your child has no symptoms, try a normal serving size.
In all cases of food allergies, if your child tries something new and then develops a rash, runny nose, hives, irritation and itchiness in the mouth and throat, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, has trouble breathing or has any other concerning symptoms, seek immediate medical care. A weak pulse, confusion and dizziness are seen in very rare cases. At times, your skin may also get a bluish tinge or look very pale.
2. Team up with an allergy doctor
If you or your child has had an allergic reaction to any food, an allergist can help you figure out what it was and how to manage it. An allergy doctor can also tell you if you are a good candidate for immunotherapy to treat the allergy. Immunotherapy introduces tiny doses of an allergen to desensitize the immune system to it.
3. Don’t leave home without your epipin
4. Trust yourself
If you know your child will make smart food choices, won’t share food and will ask for visible peanut residue to be wiped away before sitting down, then your child can sit with their peers. However, if you are worried your child is a risk-taker and likes to share food, the peanut-free table is probably a better choice.
It is good to note though, that most food allergy reactions require that the food contact with the mouth, inside of the nose or eyes. It’s rare to react to airborne exposure.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of a food allergy, please contact Allergy & Asthma Center of Montana. Go online to learn more or schedule your appointment today! Allergy Asthma Center Montana