Peanut allergies in New Zealand and around the world have increased in regularity over the last couple of decades. The exact reason is unclear but the most likely culprit is our modern hygiene practices and use of antibiotics which may unbalance our body’s immunity, making us more vulnerable to bacterial infections and allergies.
- Peanut allergy, like other types of food allergies, can illicit a range of reactions and in severe cases can result in anaphylaxis.
- Most children with a peanut allergy will have a reaction as a result of consumption, but there are some children whose sensitivity means that they can react if they touch something bearing traces of peanut, or inhale particles of peanut.
- If you suspect a peanut allergy in your child, you should consult a specialist who will advise on a skin prick test which will confirm the allergy.
- While a peanut allergy is usually lifelong, many children experience a lessening of symptoms as they mature and a specialist can assist in effective management of the allergy.
Can I treat a peanut allergy?
- Like all food allergies, the way to deal with them is to totally avoid the trigger foods.
- If you suspect that your child is allergic to peanuts, consult your doctor immediately. As with most food allergies, repeated exposure to the trigger food can result in an increasing sensitivity resulting in stronger symptoms of an allergic reaction with each exposure.
- To avoid triggering an allergic reaction, you will need to check all food labels. Many commercially made chocolate products and baked goods contain traces of peanuts despite the fact that they don’t appear to have peanuts in their main ingredients.
- As all contact with peanuts is hard to avoid, you need to be prepared (and prepare your child) for the possibility of an allergic reaction. Formulate a plan of action with your specialist and make sure that your child understands the seriousness of her allergy.