Health Topics

Puzzling Peanuts

By DuPage Medical Group Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Peanut allergies are extremely common, especially in children. Depending on the person, even a tiniest bit of peanut can cause an allergic reaction. It is unclear why some people are allergic to peanuts and others are not. Some allergic reactions are more severe than others; from mild hives to hospitalization, it is always important to talk to your doctor if you have had any reaction to peanuts, as mild symptoms can turn into severe allergies.

Mild Peanut Reactions

If you have a peanut allergy, you may experience:

• Hives, redness, and swelling of the skin
• Itching or tingling in or around mouth and throat
• Digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps
• Tightening of the throat
• Shortness of breath or wheezing
• Runny nose


A more severe case of peanut allergies is called anaphylaxis, and requires an adrenaline injector (EpiPen, Twinject) and a trip to the hospital. Signs of anaphylaxis include:

• Constriction of airways
• Swelling of your throat
• Severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
• Rapid Pulse
• Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness

There are a few ways in which you can come into contact with peanuts.

Direct contact. This is the most common cause of inducing peanut allergies. Direct contact consists of eating peanuts in any form. Sometimes, when your skin comes into contact with peanuts you can have an allergic reaction.

Cross-Contact. This happens when peanuts are accidentally crossed with another product. For example, a product produced in a factory that also uses peanuts in other products.

Inhalation. If extremely sensitive, inhaling peanut dust can cause allergic reactions. This can happen when using peanut oil cooking spray or similar products.

Understanding your reaction and sensitivity can help you or someone you know stay healthy and avoid allergic reactions.

Topics and Subtopics: Allergies & Children's Health

Learn more about:
Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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