Peanuts are the leading cause of severe allergic reactions, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nut and eggs.  Studies have shown that one-third of people with a peanut allergy have experienced a severe allergic reaction. The first allergic reaction to peanut or tree nut develops in most children between 14 and 24 months of age.  The peanut or tree nut allergy was once considered lifelong, yet new research has determined that up to 15 to 20 percent of sufferers will actually outgrow the allergy by school age. This is especially true if your child has few other food allergies, has a low peanut IgE level as shown on a blood test, or has a mild reaction to skin prick test at a time of reassessment.

The peanut is in the legume family, along with peas, lima beans, lentils and soybeans, just to list a few.  If you are allergic to peanuts, it does not necessarily follow that you will be allergic to these other legumes and be required to avoid them also.  Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts.  Although the peanut is not considered a tree nut, it is recommended that peanut-allergic patients avoid all tree nuts, and vice versa, as an extra precaution.

Allergy shots have not been successful for patients with peanut or tree nut allergies.  Until a cure is found, the only “cure” for the peanut or tree nut allergy is to stay away from all peanut and tree nut products.  Read labels of every food that you eat.  Peanuts and peanut products can show up in many unsuspecting foods.  In highly sensitized people, even trace amounts can induce a severe allergic reaction.

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