What causes peanut allergies? Researchers are still trying to figure out why some people have an allergic reaction to peanuts, while others can eat them without any side effects. What is known, though, is that people who are sensitive to peanuts react for a specific reason. Their immune system mistakenly identifies peanut proteins as something harmful. There are three ways that peanuts can affect those with allergies:
- Direct contact – when people who are allergic eat or touch peanuts, they will experience a reaction.
- Cross contact – food materials that have been processed where peanuts have also been processed can initiate a reaction.
- Inhalation – some people have reactions when they inhale peanut oil spray or inhale peanut flour.
What kinds of reactions occur? Allergic reactions occur within minutes of contact with the peanuts. These reactions may range from a simple rash to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, a condition where the person’s throat closes and breathing becomes impossible.
How are severe peanut allergies treated? Most people who know they are allergic carry an Epipen. This is an injection containing epinephrine, a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs.
So if you have a friend with a peanut allergy over for a meal, read all of the packages that you are using carefully to prevent a reaction.
Happy Father's Day!!