Peanut Allergies

Peanut Allergies What is a peanut allergy? A peanut allergy is a reaction that involves our body’s immune system. When we have a peanut allergy our immune system thinks that the peanut proteins are harmful and fight against it to protect our body. Peanuts are one of the nine most common food allergens in Canada. The other eight are: wheat, tree nuts (such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts), sesame seeds, milk, eggs, seafood, soy, and sulphites (a food additive).

Causes of peanut allergies: * Hereditary * Breast-feeding; But new evidence shows that when a mother eats peanuts, the peanut proteins flow into breast-milk and cause infants to develop the allergy antibodies, as well. * Direct contact. The most common cause of peanut allergy is eating peanuts or peanut-containing foods. * Cross-contact. This is the unintended introduction of peanuts into a product. It’s generally the result of a food being exposed to peanuts during processing or handling. * Inhalation.

An allergic reaction may occur if you inhale dust or aerosols containing peanuts, such as that of peanut flour or peanut oil cooking spray. The most popular cause of peanut allergy is called the “hygiene hypothesis,” which says that people are just too clean these days. The result of the super-germ-free lives we lead and our readiness to treat infection with antibiotics is that our bodies don’t know how to handle certain innocent proteins such as peanuts. Foods that causes the illness: * Peanuts and peanut products. * Tree nuts and their products. * Food that are exposed to peanuts.

What are the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction? An allergic reaction to peanuts can happen within minutes or up to several hours after eating foods containing peanuts. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may progress from mild to severe. Mild allergic reaction: * flushed face and body * itchy eyes, nose, face and skin * tingling, numbness or pain in the lips and tongue Moderate to severe signs and symptoms * swelling of the eyes, face, lips, throat and tongue * hives * cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting * wheezing, coughing * weakness, dizziness * anxiety, distress, sense of fear and doom

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There are some symptoms of the most serious form of peanut allergies called anaphylaxis; which are very deadly and life-threatening. When a person is experiencing anaphylaxis reaction, he/she may have difficulty in talking swallowing and even breathing! Scientists have identified 19 peanut proteins–that can trigger anaphylaxis. It works this way: those with the allergy develop specific antibodies, known as IgE antibodies, which react to the peanut proteins. This triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals which cause facial swelling, and constrict the lungs airways and throat making it difficult to breathe.

Without a shot of adrenaline, the reaction can cause death. Why is this an important issue that everyone should know about? This is an important issue that everyone should know about because comparing to 1980s the rate of people with peanut allergies has been reported to have increased by 95%. Although there are no hard statistics in Canada, most agree the allergy is on the rise. According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, Peanut allergy causes an estimated 15,000 emergency room visits each year and nearly 100 deaths. Safety precautions: . The safest way to avoid a peanut related reaction is to avoid all food and products that contain or may contain peanuts. 2. Other than that, create a plan for how to handle a reaction, just in case one occurs, and tell your friends, family, coaches, and teachers at school about your allergy 3. Always keep a shot of epinephrine, a hormone that controls anaphylaxis reactions. 4. Tell the server in a restaurant about your allergy so that he or she can steer you away from dishes that contain nuts. 5. Always read the ingredients list to be safe.

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