The peanut is part of the legume family, as are
peas, beans and liquorice. It bears its fruit in shells and develops
underground. For those who are not allergic to them, peanuts are an
extremely healthy food, which are very rich in protein.
Peanuts are one of many foods that can cause severe
allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis (for more details on anaphylaxis
read our food
Peanut allergies are an inconvenience but they are
manageable and with extra care and vigilance you can avoid peanuts and
therefore avoid the associated symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Mild symptoms could include itching and swelling
in the mouth, rashes on the body, nausea and vomiting.
Serious symptoms include a drop in blood pressure
(this will make you go weak), severe asthma or it may cause your throat to close, which could then lead to suffocation.
Symptoms of a peanut allergy can occur within a
few minutes or after a few hours after contact or consumption of a peanut.
How will I know if I have had a reaction?
This often can be a very difficult question to answer.
Severe symptoms are very obvious but mild symptoms can sometimes be
hard to detect and may not raise any major concerns. It is important
that if you do suffer any symptoms, no matter how mild that you contact
your doctor for further advice, as next time you might suffer a severe
After you have been diagnosed with a peanut allergy
the only cure at present, is total avoidance of all peanuts and products
Manufacturers are beginning to recognise the potential
dangers, a person allergic to peanuts faces. Therefore most foods containing
peanuts are now clearly labelled this product may contain nuts.
If you are unsure about the possible presence of
peanuts in any foods you purchase and there is no advisory label, then
it would be advisable to check the contents with the manufacturer. When
eating out, remember to ask if any of the dishes you have ordered contain
peanuts or peanut products. Dont worry about causing a fuss, explain
what peanuts do to you and if you are not happy with their answer, choose
something else on the menu, or eat somewhere else. Chinese, Thai and
Indian restaurants are best avoided.
Children and peanut allergies
An informed parent doesnt need to live in
fear if their child suffers from a peanut allergy. The more you understand
about the situation the better you will feel. Remember, your childs
allergy will travel everywhere with them, to school, to friends houses',
to parties and on holiday. If you tell everyone about the situation
you are minimizing your child's risk of an allergic reaction.
Foods to watch out for:
Many unsuspecting foods and snacks contain nuts,
these may include:
- Pastries and biscuits
- Sweets and chocolates
- Fruit yoghurts
- Salad dressings
- Peanut Butter
- Breakfast cereals
- Satay sauce
- Ice cream
- Praline and nougat
Take time to check all food ingredients thoroughly.
Kissing - ask your partner if they have been
eating nuts that day, a reaction doesnt necessarily mean you have
to eat the food yourself, bodily contact can also cause a reaction.
Alcohol - extra care needs to be taken when consuming
alcohol, as your judgement of certain foods can sometimes be altered.
Chocolates - dont be embarrassed about saying
no, if you are unsure about the ingredients.