Between 1997 and 2002, peanut allergies are said to have risen by double in children. Peanut allergy in general seems to be on the rise, and those who are allergic to peanuts and inadvertently ingest them can be in danger of losing their lives if action is not taken quickly enough. This obviously depends on the level of peanut sensitivity on the part of the person, as well as the amount of peanuts or peanut-containing foods eaten.
Peanuts can be found in a surprising amount of different foods, and care should always be taken if you have a peanut allergy – peanuts can be in the most unexpected of places and foods. The outer shells of peanuts are sometimes used in compost-making, so care should be taken if using compost or hiring a gardener. Sauces such as pesto, salad dressing, gravy and hot sauce have all been known to contain peanuts or peanut derivatives. They are also commonly found in desserts and cookies/biscuits. Potato pancakes, egg rolls, Asian and Mexican food, pet food and vegetarian foods all can contain peanut proteins. Peanut oil is found in foods quite commonly, so especially when buying processed or pre-prepared foods, you should carefully examine the ingredients list and be aware of some of the other foods containing peanut-traces that may appear there. Peanuts also go by various different names such as monkey nuts, ground nuts and beer nuts, so watch out for these names as well. Basically, you should always be asking questions, double checking and reading labels to ensure that you don’t accidentally ingest anything that will trigger a reaction from your peanut allergy.
You should bear in mind that certain nut butter alternatives are prepared in factories and premises where peanuts are handled and used around the same machinery. This means that if you have a particularly sensitive peanut allergy, you could have a serious reaction by consuming any of these products. You should check with the producers of the consumables prior to eating them.
There are certain other foods that you may be allergic to as a result of your peanut allergy – this includes things like other nuts, especially nuts from trees. If you avoid nuts altogether, you lower your risk of an allergic reaction through cross-contamination in nut factories and processing plants. It may also be a good idea to avoid eating ice-cream bought from a parlor, as quite often there will be cross-contamination between the different flavors, and nuts are an especially favorite ingredient for ice-cream makers!
If you have an especially severe peanut allergy, your doctor may prescribe the drug epinephrin for you to carry with you at all times. This stops your body from going into anaphylaxis when ingestion of peanuts or peanut-containing products has occurred, and will save your life. In around 1 out of 5 children who suffer with a peanut allergy, they will outgrow the allergy by the time they are adult. However in the majority of cases, this is not so. You should proceed with great caution when eating foods that you have not prepared, and never presume that it is safe to eat peanuts freely if you have one suffered from an allergy to them.
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