10 Signs Your Child May Have an Allergy to Peanuts

peanutPeanuts seem like a childhood staple menu item, from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to roasted peanuts at a baseball game. In fact, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimate that roughly three million children suffer from food allergies, many of which are peanut allergies. What makes a peanut allergy so terrifying is that exposure can be deadly for an allergic kid, and peanuts aren’t always easily spotted in processed foods. These are ten signs of an allergy to peanuts you’ll want to be on the lookout for when feeding your child peanuts. If you find out that they do end up having allergies, the consider making an appointment at this Board Certified Allergist Center.

  1. You or Your Partner Have Food Allergies – While specific allergies may not be inherited directly, parents with pet allergies, hay fever and food allergies have a 50% chance of passing this allergy on to their children, with the figure jumping to 75% if both parents have allergies. If you or your partner have a history of allergic reactions, it’s smart to keep an extra-close eye on your child when you introduce peanuts into her diet.
  2. Skin Reactions – Redness of the skin, swelling, hives and rashes can all be indicators of an allergic reaction. If you notice that your child’s skin is reacting strangely after introducing a new food, especially one that contains peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs or cow’s milk, you’ll want to contact her pediatrician.
  3. Runny Nose – Just as hay fever can create nasal symptoms when a sufferer is exposed to allergens like pollen, so can food allergies. A runny nose that wasn’t present before snack time but suddenly presents itself after a meal containing peanuts may indicate that your child has a sensitivity to them.
  4. Wheezing or Gasping – Wheezing sounds, gasping and other audible breathing are all signs of an allergic reaction that should not be taken lightly. Even if your child is making noises without an obvious struggle to breathe, you should contact a medical professional.
  5. Difficulty Breathing – Severe peanut allergies can cause anaphylaxis, a dangerous condition that makes it difficult for sufferers to breathe. This struggle to obtain oxygen is potentially fatal; if you see that your child is struggling to breathe after ingesting peanuts, seek medical help immediately.
  6. Tightening of the Throat – Tightening of the throat can be a precursor to dangerous anaphylactic shock, but it can also be a mildly unpleasant, uncomfortable feeling in the throat. If your child complains of a funny feeling in his throat after consuming food that contains peanuts, but isn’t visibly swelling or struggling to breathe, it’s still wise to seek medical attention and avoid future exposure to peanuts.
  7. Digestive Complaints – Food allergies and intolerances aren’t quite the same animal, but they can both cause digestive complaints like nausea, diarrhea, cramping and intestinal pain. It’s important to take any digestive complaints seriously after introducing a new food, especially one that’s known to cause allergic reactions.
  8. Itching of the Mouth and Throat – Itching can range from mild to severe, and is often a sign of an allergy regardless of intensity. Older infants and pre-verbal toddlers may not be able to communicate these sensations to you, but kids who are able to express themselves should be taken seriously.
  9. Rapid Pulse – One of the serious signs of anaphylaxis after peanut consumption is a rapid or weak pulse. If your child’s pulse seems rapid, especially if that symptom presents itself with any others, you should seek medical assistance without delay.
  10. Dizziness or Loss of Consciousness – Like difficulty breathing and rapid pulse, dizziness or loss of consciousness can be a very serious sign of a severe allergic reaction.

The parenting and pregnancy gurus at What to Expect state that up to 20% of kids with peanut allergies will eventually outgrow them, so there is a chance that your child won’t be doomed to such dangerous reactions for the rest of her life. Still, that’s not a green-light to experiment in order to determine whether or not an allergy no longer exists. If you suspect that a food allergy has abated, the only safe way to determine whether or not your hunch is correct is to contact her pediatrician or allergist to schedule allergy tests.

Article re-printed with permission from http://www.becomeananny.org/

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