Nutrition

Peanut allergies

Asthmatic children with food allergies may be most at risk

Children are now exposed to peanuts more frequently at an early age and build up allergies. They may even acquire the allergy in the womb as the mother eats products laced with peanuts.

 

Peanut allergies, along with other allergies are on the increase.

No one is completely sure why this is, but it is likely that at least part of the story is that peanuts are a cheap ingredient used in many processed foods. This means that children are exposed to peanuts more frequently at an early age and build up allergies. They may even acquire the allergy in the womb as the mother eats products laced with peanuts.

Peanuts have substances in them called lectins, which in susceptible people can set off a serious reaction, sometimes leading to death from anaphylaxis (closing up of the breathing tubes).

Asthmatic children with food allergies may be most at risk. To reduce the risk of a peanut allergy it is ideal to avoid your child eating peanuts before the age of five. It is on the second exposure that a serious allergic reaction happens (the first exposure programmes the reaction).

If your child is having an adverse reaction to a food, such as peanuts, then you must seek the help of a doctor immediately who can administer an adrenaline injection to offset the reaction.

 After peanuts, the most common serious allergies are to sesame (seeds, also found in tahini and hummus), eggs, milk, fish, shellfish and other nuts. 

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