Food & Drink / Health

Oh, peanuts! Nut allergies are so frustrating!

Everyone has seen the warning signs for those with peanut allergies, This product was processed with the same equipment that processed peanuts. Many individuals do not realize that for some with peanut allergies this little notice can be a live saver. While many inflicted individuals may find that eating peanuts has only minor implications like urticaria (hives), others can experience a life threatening adverse reactions like anaphylactic shock.

Nut allergies stem from your immune system accidently tagging a peanut protein as something harmful, rather than something harmless. The body attempts to guard itself against the proteins and builds up an arsenal for cells build for the destruction of peanut proteins. This build up of attack cells is why the initial allergic reaction probably will not be that serious, there is not a serious build up of cells capable of causing typical allergic reactions symptoms. Once the body has a chance to build up a defense system, the reactions will become far more serious. Disregarding an initial allergic reaction can lead to a life altering situation later.

To be tested for an allergic reaction, blood can be drawn and checked for immunoglobulin E antibodies which suggest an allergy to certain foods. While considerably less painful than a scratch test, it is far less reliable. A scratch test, or skin test, consists of introducing a graph of potential allergens to the skin of the prospective patient via introduction to the surface of skin and then introduced to the blood stream by a needle prick. Once a proper amount of time has passed the graph is then checked for reactions to the proposed substances.

Unfortunately for those with peanut allergies, the only way to avoid reactions, is to avoid peanuts! For minor reactions, taking allergy medicine will lessen any negative effects from accidental exposure. For those with major reactions however, carrying an epinephrine autoinjector is absolutely necessary!

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