Peanut allergy is a reaction that occurs in a person’s body when exposed to peanut or peanut products. Peanut allergy is most commonly found in children, but is also seen in adults. A reaction occurs when the body overeacts to the proteins in peanuts.
A child may outgrow the allergy by the time he/she reaches school age. But in some individuals the allergy persists for a lifetime.
People who are allergic to peanuts are most likely to be allergic to tree nuts such as pistachio, cashew, almonds etc. Peanut allergy and hives are closely related because in many cases the peanut allergy manifests in the form of hives.
Symptoms of Peanut Allergy
Hives are one of the common symptoms associated with peanut allergy and other nut allergies.
Hives is also known as urticaria. Urticaria appears as raised and red welts that could be itchy. Hives are sometimes accompanied by swelling of the eyes, throat, tongue and face. Swelling of the throat can be dangerous as it can block the airway passage causing the person to have difficulty in breathing.
If peanut is consumed then a person can experience abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Other common symptoms include coughing and wheezing.
The same reaction is akin to a seafood allergy where the ingredients can sneak into any food.
Preventing Peanut Allergy and Hives
Avoid foods that contain any of the following ingredients:
- Peanuts, ground nuts, beer nuts, monkey nuts.
- Peanut oil or Arachis oil which is another name for peanut oil.
- Peanut butter.
- In fact…ALL peanut products can produce a reaction on some people.
Some popular food items that can contain peanuts are as follows:
- Hydrolyzed or textured vegetable protein (HVP & TVP, usually soy)
- Salad dressing
- Chinese meals
- Spaghetti sauces
- Health bars, eg muesli bars
- Thai dishes
- Ethnic cooking
- Turkish delight
- Indonesian dishes
- Breakfast cereals
Diagnosis of Peanut Allergy and Hives
To diagnose a person with peanut allergy, a test can be conducted to deduce if he/she is allergic to peanuts. In the test, tiny amounts of the allergen are injected onto the person’s skin.
If a person is susceptible to peanut allergy, then there will be redness and swelling in the area where the allergen was injected.
Treatment of Peanut Allergy and Hives
There is really no cure for peanut allergy or any food allergy. The only mainstay solution is for the person to avoid consuming or touching peanuts and all peanut products. In any case, if an allergic reaction does occur then you will need to use an Epinephrine auto-injector. It is better to seek medical care in severe situations.
Antihistamines can be consumed if hives flare up. You can use soothing creams or gels to reduce discomfort and itchiness caused by hives.