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What is a peanut allergy?
What are the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction?
Do kids with a peanut allergy have the same symptoms as adults?
Can kids outgrow peanut allergies?
If I am allergic to peanuts, can I eat tree nuts?
If I am allergic to peanuts, can I eat peanut oil?
Do you have a list of foods that contains or may contain peanuts?
A peanut allergy is a reaction that involves your body’s immune system. When you have a peanut allergy your immune system thinks that the peanut proteins are harmful and triggers different symptoms.
Peanuts are one of the nine most common food allergens in Canada. The other eight are: wheat, tree nuts (such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts), sesame seeds, milk, eggs, seafood, soy, and sulphites (a food additive).
An allergic reaction to peanuts can happen within minutes or up to several hours after eating foods containing peanuts. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may progress from mild to severe.
A person experiencing a peanut allergy may have any one or a combination of these symptoms:
Mild signs and symptoms
Moderate to severe signs and symptoms
Signs of anaphylaxis
These are some symptoms of the most serious form of allergy called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
The symptoms are the same, but kids may have a different way of describing them.
Young children may put their hands in their mouth, or try to pull or scratch their tongues. Their speech may become slurred, hoarse, or squeaky.
Here’s what your child might say if he/she is experiencing a reaction to peanuts:
If you think that your child is having an allergic reaction, take him to your doctor or the hospital immediately.
It was once thought that peanut allergies would last a lifetime. Today, studies suggest that about 20% of children diagnosed with a peanut allergy can outgrow it. Always talk to your allergy specialist first before re-introducing peanuts or peanut products back into your child’s diet.
Tree nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts grow on trees, and do not belong in the same family as peanuts. In fact, peanuts are a member of the legume family along with lentils, dried peas and beans.
However since foods made with tree nuts (such as a can of mixed nuts) may also contain peanuts, they should be avoided.
To be safe, you should read the label on all products containing tree nuts if you have a peanut allergy and especially if you’ve had an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts.
Note that if you have either a peanut or tree nut allergy, it is usually still safe to eat legumes - but you should discuss this with your allergist to be sure.
No. To be safe, it is recommended that people with peanut allergies avoid using peanut oil or eating foods made with peanut oil.
Stricter Canadian guidelines require that peanut-containing products are clearly labelled. The ingredient list will say “contains: peanut” if it contains this ingredient.
Click here for a list of foods that may contain peanuts.
If you’re not sure if a food may contain peanuts, always call the food manufacturer.
And remember, products are always changing. This means that some of your favourite foods that used to be peanut free may not be the next time you purchase them. Always read the ingredients list to be safe.
Food Allergies & Intolerances
Peanut-free Lunches and Snacks
Peanuts - One of the nine most common food allergens, by Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Peanut Allergy – What you need to know, by Allergy and Asthma Info Association
Allergy Safe Communities
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