The peanut problem continues to grow and that's partly a result of peanuts being a cheap source of dietary protein. At one time it was mainly found in peanut butter but because it is so cheap it is used in many different products. Since there are so many people suffering from a peanut allergy here's what you need to know.
The problem is as much about it being used in so many products. Rather it is about the labeling and how difficult it is to recognize that there are peanuts in it. Sometimes it is marked as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Other times as ground nuts. It's important to understand that a peanut allergy will not go away. In fact as you age it could get worse.
Most of us know about a peanut allergy because it gets so much attention for its seriousness with anaphylactic shock reaction. The peanut allergy can move really quickly and occasionally in just minutes it can prove fatal.
A peanut allergy needs to be treated with epinephrine immediately when the first signs of a reaction. After administrating the epinephrine you still must monitor as the reaction can re-occur and another shot will have to be administrated.
Possible symptoms of an allergic reaction may include the following which are not listed in any specific order:
1. sense of foreboding, apprehension or fear
2. flushed face, hives, swollen or itchy lips, mouth, eyes, or tongue
3. tightness in chest, throat, or mouth,
4. difficulty breathing or swallowing, wheezing, drooling, coughing, choking, running nose, voice change
5. vomiting ,, stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea
6. dizziness, sudden fatigue, rapid heartbeat, unsteadiness, chills
7. loss of consciousness, coma, death
There are many factors which contribute to peanuts causing a fatal reaction.
1. Improper Labeling – sadly even though this allergy can be so deadly packaging labeling is still insufficient.
2. Lack of understanding by schools that serve food and restaurants who do not properly notify customers of a peanut possibility.
3. Nuts marked incorrectly with peanuts being sold as some other type of nut.
4. Failure to carefully read the labels.
5. Failure to inquire at restaurants and places where a problem may arise.
6. Sharing food or utensils that can cross contaminate.
7. Kissing someone that has been eating peanut products.
8. Failure to understand that a very small amount of peanuts can kill.
9. Denial of symptoms that you have a peanut allergy.
10. Not wearing a medical bracelet identifying your allergy.
Thankfully there is a treatment that works well for a serious allergy. But problems still occur which can be fatal. Epinephrine or your Epi-Pen may be outdated. Sometimes a person will wait too long to take their epinephrine. Another problem is not having a second dose of epinephrine with you. Allergy sufferers often carry one pen. Another problem is failure to report to emergency after taking epinephrine. All of these issues may be little if the allergy was not so serious.
Living with a peanut allergy is like living with any allergy or illness. The big difference is the seriousness of the peanut allergy. Make sure you understand and make appropriate lifestyle changes.