Cathy’s “What You Need To Know” about peanut allergies:
Peanut allergies are very common around the world and have increased dramatically over the last few decades. Here in Australia, peanut allergies affect approximately 3% of children and, although this allergy can occur at any stage, it mainly appears in the early years of life. While around 20% of children grow out of their peanut allergy when they reach adulthood, 20% of sufferers may experience worsen reactions with time. A shocking report in 2012 also revealed that nearly 75 people in the United States die from this allergy each year. Deaths from peanut allergies are rare in Australia but do occur.
So isn’t it better to know everything about peanut allergies before it’s too late? I certainly think so! Before my daughter was diagnosed with her allergy our family knew nothing about peanut allergies, now it’s constantly at the forefront of our minds when eating at restaurants or at friend’s and family’s. We’re constantly on guard when it comes to what our daughter is eating, simply because it could mean life or death for our wee girl.
So, what are the Basic Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of peanut allergies are:
- Loss of consciousness
- Diarrhea or Stomach cramps
- Wheezing or Coughing
- Swelling in the throat, tongue or mouth
- New rashes, Eczema or Hives
What are the Common Causes?
Peanut allergies can appear in three different ways. These ways are:
- Inhalation: A reaction can take place if an affected person inhales aerosol or dust that has peanut-oil cooking spray or peanut flour.Cross
- Indirect Contact: This can happen when there is an unintentional introduction of peanuts into a product. A popular example is eating a food product that got exposed to peanuts during the processing or handling process.
- Direct Contact: The most common cause is eating peanuts or peanut-based products. Moreover, recent researches also show that skin contact with peanuts can also give rise to this allergy.
Ways to Avoid Peanut Allergies Flaring Up
Unfortunately there is no proven way to avoid becoming allergic to peanuts but there are plenty of steps to avoid flaring up your peanut allergies:
#1.Prevent Exposure at Home: Home is the best place to begin the prevention procedure. If you have an affected person at home, make sure that you use peanut-free cookware and utensils while cooking their foods. You also need to use proper towels and wash your hands before cooking.
#2.Stay Prepared when Outside: You need to carry an epinephrine pen or similar medication. You can also download special software like the allergy EHR software on your Smartphone. If you and the affected person are eating in a restaurant, make it a point to alert the servers and the chefs.
#3.Make Safer Food Choices: You need to read the labels of food products you are buying to make sure that they do not contain peanuts. Instead of peanut butter, you can use soy butter or sunflower butter. Instead of peanut oil, you can use vegetable oil or canola oil when frying foods.
As the peanut allergies have been increasing, a few protective measures have been incorporated into our daily lives that we might not have even realised.
- Remember flying 10-15 years ago, maybe not even that long and receiving a snack pack of peanuts on the flight? Peanuts in confined spaces can prove problematic for severe sufferers so these days’ peanuts are less common on larger airline networks with carriers now opting for crackers or rice snacks.
- Many schools have started taking precautions for those who are allergic to peanuts. Peanut butter, peanuts and even other forms of nuts are now banned in school lunch boxes in certain schools around Australia and the world. This avoids children sharing potentially deadly lunch snacks to those susceptible to peanut allergies. This is very helpful in preventing children with peanut allergies from having an accidental exposure.
- Packaged food is now well labelled to include ‘may contain traces of peanuts’ or ‘nuts’ in general. Food effectiveness of food labelling has greatly increased over time and as a parent, it’s hugely beneficial for me and my family.
Although peanut allergies can be life threatening, with proper preventative measures and awareness those who do suffer can live normal healthy lives. It’s just a matter of staying alert and disciplined when it comes to peanuts. For more information on peanut allergies, I found this website here extremely useful when we were first learning about how to care for our daughter.