A peanut butter allergy is one of the most common food allergies, especially in children, and it is often a life-long allergy. The symptoms of a peanut allergy can be mild. For example, you might feel nausea after eating peanut butter. In some cases, symptoms can be serious and life-threatening, like anaphylaxis.
Who Is At Risk?
An antibody called immunoglobulin is used by the body to fight foreign proteins in foods. In the case of a person with a peanut allergy, the immune system mistakenly believes that the protein in peanuts is harmful. When this happens, the immunoglobulin antibodies trigger a histamine release. This histamine release is the cause of a peanut or peanut butter allergy.
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According to an article published in the November 2018 Annals of Allergy. Asthma, and Immunology, an estimated 2.2 percent of children have a peanut allergy, and 59.2 percent of those with the allergy have experienced a severe reaction. Research suggests that children with other food allergies seem to be at higher risk. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology advises that infants with an egg allergy and/or severe eczema are at high risk.
The Food Allergy Education Resource also states that peanut allergies may run in families. Children with a sibling who has a peanut allergy have a higher risk.
Symptoms of Peanut Butter Allergy
A peanut butter allergy can cause many different types of symptoms, like nausea after eating peanut butter, or other gastrointestinal problems to shortness of breath or even anaphylaxis.
One common symptom is a rash or hives. Usually, the rash is red bumps, however, it may resemble eczema. The rash may itch, tingle and burn. In some cases, the rash is limited to only the face or mouth, but it can be located anywhere on the body. The skin reactions of a peanut butter allergy can be present when peanuts are ingested or when they are touched, depending on the severity of the allergy.
Peanut butter digestion problems might be a symptom of peanut allergy, but you can also have peanut butter digestion problems due to other things, like an intolerance, or irritable bowel syndrome. These are not the same as a peanut allergy.
However, peanut butter digestion problems such as stomach cramps, nausea after eating peanut butter, vomiting or diarrhea are also common gastrointestinal reactions of a peanut butter allergy. Generally, these reactions are only present when peanuts are ingested, not handled.
A person with a peanut butter allergy may experience shortness of breath, watery eyes, wheezing, sneezing and nasal changes, such as a runny or stuffy nose. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy are also possible symptoms of a peanut allergy. These reactions can occur when the peanuts are touched or ingested or if dust from peanuts or peanut shells is inhaled.
The Risk of Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes the throat to swell, which causes breathing trouble. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis include a rapid pulse, shock and low blood pressure. People who have severe peanut butter allergies should be on the lookout for these symptoms.
If you have a peanut allergy, you may be at risk of anaphylaxis. The only way to avoid that risk is to avoid the trigger, which is peanut products. If you have symptoms of anaphylaxis get emergency medical treatment immediately. Treatment usually includes a dose of epinephrine.
People with a known peanut allergy can ask their doctor if they should carry an epinephrine auto-injector pen in case of an emergency. If it's appropriate, your doctor may write a prescription. If you are accidentally exposed to peanuts or peanut butter, you should use the pen immediately to avoid anaphylaxis.