We’ve all heard about it by now: Peanut allergies. It’s easy to dismiss a peanut allergy as nothing but people’s imagination. It’s also easy to dismiss the seriousness of a peanut allergy or any sort of tree nut allergy as being blown completely out of proportion. Other people’s allergies are always easy to disregard. It just doesn’t seem to make sense, whenever you yourself have always been exposed to something without any problem, to hear of someone else talking about having some sort of allergic reaction to the same item. This sort of allergy tunnel vision needs to be put aside however. Furthermore, those of us especially with children or who are frequently around children, need to learn to recognize peanut allergy symptoms, as well as other similar allergic symptoms.
Where do Peanut Allergies Come From?
It’s easy to wonder about peanut allergies and where they come from. How does such an allergy even begin? How can a person eat peanuts one time and then the next time almost die from an allergic reaction to peanuts. This is hard to answer, as are most questions about autoimmune disorders. Somehow a person’s body can just be triggered to respond to a substance very suddenly and drastically with little to no prior warning. Because of this, allergic reactions, to peanuts or otherwise, need to be recognized for what they are, as soon as they are manifest.
Peanut allergy symptoms usually present themselves very soon after exposure. Sometimes the symptoms can be mild, other times quite severe, and even life threatening. Symptoms might
include any or all of the following:
-A tightening of the chest
-A breakout on the skin of a rash, hives, redness or swelling
-Shortness of breath
-A runny nose
Again, these symptoms may be mild or severe but any of them are worth taking note of if someone has just been exposed to peanuts. If a symptom is fairly severe, or a pattern develops with any of these symptoms even in a mild form in relation to peanuts then an allergy test is in order. This is because peanut allergies are notorious for bringing on an even worse allergic reaction; anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that can easily cause death and therefore requires prompt treatment. What happens during anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a person’s airways
constrict due to dwelling in the throat. Usually an rapid increase in pulse rate also takes place as well as a drop in blood pressure. This sends a person’s body into shock and can cause them to pass out. With the sudden onset of these conditions a person can very well suffocate and die in a relatively short time.
Responding to Anaphylactic Shock
The best way to respond to anaphylaxis is with epinephrine (adrenaline) injected into the bloodstream. This is what the EpiPen that many with serious allergies carry with them at all times. If no EpiPen is immediately available, as would be more likely with someone having an allergic reaction for the first time, and it will take some time to get medical attention, then taking some Benadryl might be a good idea as it can help with allergic reactions. Note that even with an EpiPen injection a trip to the emergency room is still in order. Understand, a peanut allergy is nothing to trifle with. It would be a mistake for someone with a known peanut allergy to eat some peanuts just to experiment thinking that their Epipen will bail them out. It may not. The only place to ever experiment with a known peanut allergy is under the supervision of a doctor, and even then, in a medical facility and under the direct observation of a physician, a person can still have an fatal reaction to peanuts from which he or she cannot be resuscitated.
It is wise for us all to be able to recognize allergic symptoms, whether peanuts are involved or not. Many allergic reactions are minor and harmless but many others are not, and many can
turn life threatening much more quickly than you imagine. If you already know someone with a peanut allergy then knowing and understanding peanut allergy symptoms is vital.