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Peanut Allergy Symptoms & Treatment

Affinity Health is a leading provider of high-quality healthcare cover. Here, they explore the most common food allergy in all children: peanut allergy.


Many schools across South Africa have declared themselves nut-free. That means they no longer serve peanut butter, a previous school lunch staple. The reason is that peanuts might trigger life-threatening reactions in allergic children.

How Common is a Peanut Allergy?

Peanut allergy affects 2% of the general population. But 7 – 14% of children go to the hospital due to a peanut allergy. One-third to one-half may develop anaphylaxis, although deaths are uncommon.


“A lot goes into minimising accidental peanut exposure. Patients with a peanut allergy may need emergency treatment (adrenaline). Also, their families and caregivers have a lot of work to do. They carry the load of managing symptoms,” says Murray Hewlett, Affinity Health CEO.


“Peanut allergy is one of the leading causes of severe allergic reactions. For some allergic patients, even a small peanut serving triggers anaphylaxis.


In children, peanut allergy has been growing. Your child may have only experienced a moderate allergic response to peanuts. But it is crucial to consult a physician. There is still a possibility of more severe reactions in the future.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Peanut Allergy?

Often, an allergic reaction to peanuts begins within minutes after exposure.

Examples of peanut allergy symptoms include:

  • Cutaneous responses, urticaria (chronic hives), erythema, or oedema.
  • Itchiness or tingling in the mouth and throat.
  • Digestive issues, including diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Constriction of the throat.
  • Breathlessness and wheezing.
  • Runny nose.
  • Rapid pulse.
  • Vertigo, faintness, or lack of awareness.


Consult your doctor whenever your child displays any peanut allergy symptoms.

What Causes Peanut Allergy?

Peanut allergy is due to immune system error. Your immune system identifies peanut proteins as dangerous. Contact with peanuts, whether direct or indirect, is a trigger. That makes the immune system release symptom-causing substances into the circulation.


Peanut Allergy can arise in several ways:

Eating or drinking anything that comprises peanuts can be harmful. Direct skin contact with peanuts might cause an allergic response as well.

That is the accidental presence of peanuts in a product. It often happens after exposure to peanuts during production or handling.

Breathing in dust or aerosols containing peanuts from sources such as:

  • Peanut flour
  • Peanut oil cooking spray
  • Heated peanut butter

Who is Most at Risk of a Peanut Allergy?

Why some individuals get allergies while others do not is unclear. But several risk factors increase the likelihood of peanut allergy development.


These are among the risk factors for peanut allergy:

Food allergies are most prevalent in young children, particularly toddlers and babies. As you age, your digestive system matures. Your body becomes less prone to respond to allergen-causing foods.

Peanut allergy in the past: 
Some children outgrow their peanut sensitivity. But even if your child has outgrown peanut allergy, it can return.

Other allergies: 
If you are allergic to one food, you may be more likely to develop an allergy to another. Also, other allergies, such as hay fever, enhance the chances of food allergy cases.

Members of the family with allergies: 
You are more likely to develop a peanut allergy exist in your family.

How Can You Prevent a Peanut Allergy?

Exposing at-risk infants to peanuts as early as four to six months of age may help. It may lower their chance of developing food allergies by as much as 80%. Infants with mild to severe eczema, egg allergy, or both are at risk for peanut allergy. Before introducing peanuts to your baby, please consult your doctor.


Learn More: Baby Starting Solids: Here are Some Great Options

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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