Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Peanuts can cause a severe, potentially fatal, allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Therefore it is advised that people with peanut allergy have quick access to an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen®, Auvi-Q or Adrenaclic) at all times.
Allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise in children. According to a FARE-funded study, the number of children in the U.S. with peanut allergy more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.1 Studies in the United Kingdom and Canada also showed a high prevalence of peanut allergy in schoolchildren.
Peanut allergies tend to be lifelong, although studies indicate that approximately 20 percent of children with peanut allergy do eventually outgrow their allergy. Younger siblings of children allergic to peanuts may be at increased risk for allergy to peanuts. Your doctor can provide guidance about testing for siblings. Trace amounts of peanut can cause an allergic reaction. Casual contact with peanuts, such as touching peanuts or peanut butter residue, is less likely to trigger a severe reaction. Casual contact becomes a concern if the area that comes into contact with peanuts then comes into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth (for example, a child with peanut allergy gets peanut butter on her fingers, and then rubs her eyes).
Recent studies have shown an estimated 25-40 percent of people who have peanut allergy also are allergic to tree nuts.2 In addition, peanuts and tree nuts often come into contact with one another during manufacturing and serving processes. For these reasons, allergists usually tell their patients with peanut allergy to avoid tree nuts as well.
Read all labels carefully.Ingredients in packaged food products may change without warning, so check ingredient statements carefully every time you shop. If you have questions, call the manufacturer.
Peanut – Food Allergy Research & Education. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from https://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/peanut-allergy