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Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are a hypersensitivity of the body towards a member of a food family called legumes, which includes peanuts. Peanut allergies are amongst the most common types of food allergies. People develop allergies to the dietary protein found in peanuts. Peanut allergies, unlike other food allergies, are not usually outgrown and are generally lifelong. This allergy often develops in childhood when the immune system cannot tolerate a variety of new substances. The symptoms of peanut allergies vary in each individual, but if an allergic reaction is not properly treated in a timely fashion can even prove fatal.

The symptoms include itching, swelling of any body part, vomiting, nausea, running nose tightness of throat or chest, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, choking, change of voice, and even loss of consciousness.

In extreme cases, peanut allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which can prove fatal within minutes. In case the symptoms of allergy do not go away in 5-10 minutes and seem to be progressive, anaphylaxis could be the cause. In anaphylaxis, the blood pressure of the body drops significantly, the face and throat starts to swell, and this state can cause choking. It is very important to distinguish anaphylaxis from other allergic reactions on time. Epinephrine injection is considered as the first line treatment for anaphylaxis. After Epinephrine is administered, the patient is kept under supervision to check and control the reoccurrence of the symptoms.

There is generally no permanent treatment of peanut allergy. The only treatment is to avoid exposure to peanut directly or indirectly. People allergic to peanuts should avoid peanuts and products that contain peanuts. Peanut oil, peanut butter or hydrolyzed vegetable protein contains peanut protein that should be strictly avoided. Labels on the food should be read for any peanut ingredient. Bakery products, ice creams and some food menus in a restaurant also contain peanuts or peanut protein. People with peanut allergy should enquire about the ingredient before consuming them. Individuals sensitive and allergic to peanuts should be very careful and vigilant about their food intake and the environment for any products containing peanuts.

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