Understanding Peanut Allergies – Part I

By , December 15th, 2011 | Infant Care, News, Nutrition, Toddler Care | 0 Comments

Nevin Wilson, MD, Pediatric Allergies and Immunology
University of Nevada School of Medicine

Peanuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods in children. So how do you identify if your child has a peanut allergy?

It’s important to recognize it during the first reaction your child has. For example, somewhere around the age of one, many parents will feed their child peanut butter. Typically children will present with mild symptoms, like a rash on their face, the first time they are given a food they are allergic to. It’s the second time the child eats the food that the severe allergic reaction occurs. These reactions include hives, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure or even unconsciousness.

A child will not have a severe allergic reaction without previous exposure. If you or a care provider notice even a minor rash or irritation, it’s worth noting what your child ate or was inadvertently exposed to. Be sure to tell your pediatrician if this happens. They can refer your child for allergy testing and help avoid a possible second, more severe, encounter.  If your child has any reactions involving the airway including tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, wheezing and drooling, go to the hospital immediately for treatment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 6% of children younger than 3 years old have some kind of food allergy, putting them at risk of an allergic reaction at home or, even more dangerously, away from home.

For more information about peanut allergies, including an allergic reactions instructions sheet, go to the Kids Health library on

Does your child have a nut allergy? Tell us how you first discovered it. Also, be sure to check back here next Thursday as Dr. Wilson will address what to do if your child has a peanut allergy.

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