What is Peanut Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications, Recovery, Prevention
What is Peanut Allergy?
Peanut allergy is a very dangerous type of allergy which is not related to other nut allergies. Peanut allergy has a high persistence that can lead to anaphylaxis death. This is a food related death that is most common in the western cultures. This allergic condition is in most cases caused by a reaction of the immune system of the body of type 1 hypersensitivity. Awareness has been beefed up in the society to sensitize the population of this condition since it has gained prominence and the population have to be able to differentiate between peanut allergy and nut allergy. In the united states of america alone, the allergy is present in a whopping 0.6% of the population. Patients with peanut allergy are strongly advised to avoid peanut and peanut derived foods.
Causes of Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergy is in cases caused by a reaction of immune system of the body of a type 1 hypersensitivity, but there are many theories and myths attached to peanut allergy. Some of them are proven but most are unproven. For instance there is a belief that exposure of infants to various oils, mostly applied on the skin may later in life cause peanut allergy in the developing kid. These peanut oils may likely be contained in skin creams that are applied when kids develop rushes or any other mild skin complication. Other theories stated that peanut allergy is directly linked with consumption of soy milk but it was later disapproved. Some people believe that in order to minimise the chance of their unborn kids developing this allergy, the pregnant mothers should take food containing peanut so that the developing foetus can develop strong immunity to fight the allergy in times to come.
Signs and Symptoms of Peanut Allergy
Victims of peanut allergy have described their ordeal as unpleasant reaction that is associated with acute abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, urticarial, angioedema, itchiness, facial swelling and rhinitis. Other signs and symptoms of peanut allergy include asthma which is very deadly to victims and can lead to collapsing of the victim due to failure of breathing system, exacerbation of atopic eczema and cardiac arrest. Looking at this symptoms alone, you realize how dangerous this allergic attack can get. Believe me this are just few of the symptoms.
ImmunoglubiniE(IgE) action that releases histamine which is a mediator substance developed in the mast cells is what induces the symptoms of peanut allergy. In a normal attack the histamine will also trigger the vasodilation of arterioles and a subsequent constriction of the bronchioles of the lungs culminating into a phenomena called bronchospasm. At this point, the casualty will be in a full blown peanut allergy attack.
Tests to Diagnose Peanut Allergy
There are two type of peanut allergy tests that can be performed to establish if the patient is allergic or not. These tests are the skin prick test and the oral food challenge.
The skin prick test is up to 50% accurate and most recommended for peanut allergy. The patient is pricked at two or more point for assurance. The first prick is done through a drop of glycerinated medium which in most cases is allergen extract dropped on the skin. Two controls are used to give the desired comparison with one being histamine and the other saline. The histermine in designed to enhance an allergic response while the saline exhibits no allergic response. A 3mm difference in the diameter the histamine and saline wheal of extract will indicate an allergic response.
The oral food challenge for peanut allergy is dangerous and not advisable, here food is served on elimination basis to the patient while rationing the suspected allergens. This can have a severe reaction on the potion thus the reason to avoid this method.
Treatment for Peanut Allergy
An epinephrine injection is administered to an anaphylaxis patient under attack to treat this illness but when it comes to the peanut allergy, there is no treatment that can cure the condition. A patient susceptible to peanut allergy should strictly avoid peanut. These includes all food that are derivatives of peanut, soya, soya milk and foods containing peanut extracts such as peanut oils. Skin creams that contain peanut oil are also to be avoided, it is advisable to use other brands that will be safe to the patient and avoid the agony of the conditions effects.
Prevention of Peanut Allergy
To prevent peanut allergy from occurring or even contracting, one should take extreme measures in regards to the prevention of such. In case the patient is already affected by the allergy, then the best thing is to avoid stocking peanuts in your fridge. Avoid eating peanut foods and this include all foods that are derived from peanut such as peanut butter or even those with incorporation of peanut oil in their ingredients.
Sometimes people will want to disapprove theories and myth but in order to stay safe, it is better to follow some of them to protect your beloved children from this deadly allergy. You will not lose anything if you read and understood earlier myth regarding peanut allergy and take steps to avoid falling a victim. For instance the case we talked about earlier, the relation of soya milk with peanut allergy. To be on the safer side, it will be good if you consider this point and work toward limiting your chances or chances of your children contracting the same.
Other theories emphasize on the exposure timing, it is believed that early life exposure reduces chances of contracting, even though not proven, it is advised to try it if it gives the opportunity to avoid the contracting of peanut allergy.
Risk Factors for Peanut Allergy
It is always advisable to understand yourself or rather your body in relation to the type of food you ingest or prepare for your family. Some foods produce orders that might react with your external skin, your respiratory track or even eyes. In such cases, one should take precaution to avoid such kind of foods in order to prevent the disaster.
This in most cases have to start with a medical examination to identify such kind of foods or ingredients. The national institute of allergy and infections has established guide lines that can comfortably guide the masses on ways of determining safe foods from dangerous ones basing on the reaction of individual body to this foods.
Skin prick testing in such scenarios can be used to determine the risky factors that should be put into consideration when planning for a meal.
Another methods that can be applied is the oral challenge although it has been proved to pose grave risk but still can be used in desperate situation.
Complications of Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergy comes with a lot of complications some of them being the vasodilation and constriction of the arterioles and the bronchioles of the lungs bringing about the phenomena: 'bronchospasm.' Peanut allergy can further deteriorate into asthma, a condition where the victim find it difficult to breath. Such patients will require breathing assisting device that avails oxygen to the blood quicker helping in the resuscitation of the patient.
Vomiting, diarrhoea, and acute abdominal pains are other complications associated with these peanut allergy. Stomach related problems are gruesome, and when prolonged can lead into shock. Diarrhoea can causes dehydration due to loss of water in the running stomach, this leads to concentration of the blood making it impossible for the blood to transmit oxygen to the functional body components. This scenario can lead to collapse of the patient and eventual deaths.
Home Remedies for Peanut Allergy
There are no particular home remedies for peanut allergy. It is not simple to bring the situation of a peanut allergy under control but is always very easy to prevent such an occurrence, therefore a parent should take measures to ensure he or she protects his loved ones from this plague at all cost. In cases you are living with a peanut allergy patient, ensure that you have searched doctors guidance on how to handle the situation at home if the patient contract or is attacked by the allergy. Stock at home pain killers and any other prescribed medicine as advised by your doctor just in case you or your patient gets unlucky and comes in contact or eats the peanuts.
Coping with Peanut Allergy
Just keep of peanuts or any other food that has its ingredients in it. This is a sure way of coping with peanut allergy. If this is not possible, then buy processed peanuts that have been processed to reduce the allergens to up to 98%. This is done by use of enzymatic solutions' that break down the allergens and treat them through soaking, thus getting rid of the most harmful compounds while still retaining the roasted peanuts flavour.
Recovery Period/Healing Time for Peanut Allergy
Someone who has the peanut allergy can recover slowly under careful watch of medical exports by slowly dosing small portions of the allergens in his or her diet over time. This recovery procedure is known as Epicutaneous immunotherapy. It is believed that gradual dosage of the allergens will trigger the body to develop the an immunity with time that will be capable to fight the peanut allergy in progressive time. This therapy is highly discouraged since it is not yet proven. It is still under study. Stay safe, avoid situation that will get you the peanut allergy or trigger it as well.