Since there is no cure for peanut allergies, prevention and keeping an epinephrine injector (EpiPen) on hand is key to helping your child’s allergy.
If you suspect your child has a peanut allergy, you should have them tested by a medical professional. Even when precautions are taken, inadvertent exposures can and do occur. An epinephrine injector can help reduce the risk of allergic reactions in children with peanut allergies.
- The new guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other organizations recommend giving very small amounts of peanuts to children at a young age to train their immune systems, so it does not overreact and cause a dangerous allergic reaction.
- Instead of whole peanuts, which are choking hazards, the guidelines recommend alternatives, such as watered-down peanut butter or easy-to-gum, peanut-flavored gum.
- Peanut-containing foods should be introduced to high-risk babies when they are four to six months old. They should have their first taste in the doctor's office or at home with a parent watching for any reactions.
- Babies with a moderate risk have milder reactions, which are typically treated with over-the-counter creams. At about six months, babies should begin eating peanut-based foods at home.
- Most babies are at low risk, and parents can begin introducing peanut-based foods alongside other solids when babies are aged about six months old.
- To develop tolerance, peanut-based foods must be included in the regular diet three times a week after discussing with your doctor.
You should consult with your pediatrician before making any dietary decisions or changes for your child.
Is peanut allergy curable?
There is no cure for peanut allergies. Severely allergic individuals must avoid exposure at all costs to avoid potentially fatal reactions.
Treatment for an allergic reaction from peanuts may include:
- Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl can treat minor allergic responses in children in some situations.
- Auto-injector, most widely called EpiPen, administers medication (epinephrine) to treat signs of an allergic response immediately. A child may touch peanuts or have them by mistake, so you, your child, or caretakers should always carry the auto-injector.
- If your kid has a severe allergic response and requires immediate medical attention, physicians may prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation and prevent symptoms from recurring or worsening.
- If your kid develops asthma symptoms due to a severe allergic reaction, physicians may recommend using an inhaler or a nebulizer to help them breathe more easily.
Children with peanut allergies can stay safe if they are mindful of their surroundings. The following are some ways to prevent allergic reactions:
- Teach your child to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching peanuts.
- Read all food labels for ingredient and packaging information.
- When dining out, inquire about peanut-containing foods.
- Always keep two epinephrine injectors on hand.
- Declaring "peanut-free" zones in classrooms and cafeterias at schools and childcare centers can help keep your child safe.
- If your child develops allergy symptoms, contact their pediatrician right away or dial 911. Allergic reactions can progress quickly, so seek treatment as soon as possible.
A variety of therapeutic interventions for peanut allergy are currently being researched.
Oral immunotherapy study for desensitization
Oral immunotherapy trains the body's immune system to tolerate a food to which it is currently hypersensitive. This is accomplished by consuming extremely small amounts of the allergen regularly, gradually increasing the amount consumed.
Living with a peanut allergy can be stressful, but with a little more care and preparation, the child can eat their favorite foods.
What are the common signs and symptoms of peanut allergy in children?
Allergies to peanuts can cause moderate to life-threatening symptoms in susceptible children. If your child has a peanut allergy, they will most likely experience an allergic reaction within minutes. Sometimes, a delayed reaction after hours could be seen.
In the United States, more than 1 million children have a peanut allergy, and only one out of every five of these children will outgrow their sensitivity.
The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of a peanut allergy in children:
- Swelling of skin tissue and puffiness
- Skin rash (redness or itching)
- Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tightening of the throat
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
Peanut allergy anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause death within minutes. If your kid exhibits any of the following symptoms of anaphylaxis, call 911 right away:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling or closing of the throat
- A sudden drop in blood pressure (shock)
- Turning pale
- Blue lips
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
While the specific etiology of a peanut allergy is unknown at this time, research has revealed that a complex combination of genetic, environmental, and other variables may be involved.