Peanut Allergy Treatment Options

Reducing the risk related to peanut allergy is possible.

Dr. Chacko on the Top Doctors cover of Atlanta Magazine
Dr. Chacko Featured on the Cover of Atlanta’s Top Doctor Magazine

Finding the Right Peanut Allergy Treatment

Peanuts are a common cause of allergies across the United States. The issue can affect both adults and children, but numbers are growing among the younger generations.

Peanut allergy treatment and best practices

While an allergic reaction to peanuts can range from mild to severe, it is essential to receive an accurate diagnosis to prevent even the mildest reactions from becoming worse over time. There are various food allergy treatment options available, and our doctors will work with Atlanta patients to find a solution that works for them.

Peanut Allergy Testing

Allergy Testing

While you may suspect you have a certain allergy from your own observations, getting accurate testing from an experienced allergist is very important. The most common test to determine allergic response is a skin prick test. In this test, the surface of the skin is pricked or scratched, allowing the allergy-causing substance to be placed beneath the surface. Your doctor can then analyze your skin for reactions. An alternate approach is a blood test. In people who suffer from allergies, this test will find any antibodies in the blood.

Both of these food allergy testing procedures – along with oral food challenge testing – ensure that your allergist can make a precise diagnosis. Now let’s take a closer look at the peanut allergy testing process.

Initially, your allergist will want to gain a deeper understanding of your allergy symptoms and medical history. Examining a person’s history of allergic reactions and analyzing the pattern of symptoms helps in the diagnostic process.

Next, in most cases your allergist will proceed with a skin prick test. This test screens for many types of allergens and delivers results within 15 minutes, making it a reliable and popular option. If a person is allergic to a particular substance, they are likely to experience a red bump shortly after the skin is pricked.

If you are using certain types of medication – or if the skin prick test is inconclusive – your allergist may choose to collect a blood sample for analysis. This blood test measures the levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to detect signs of immune system reactions to allergens. Testing can measure the total levels of antibodies, or only the antibodies related to peanut proteins, for example.

An oral food challenge is one of the most effective food allergy testing options. During this test, a patient eats small amounts of peanut protein at increasing levels. By closely monitoring a person under safe conditions, it is possible to see if they have a direct response to the isolated consumption of peanuts. This type of test is usually reserved for instances where previous testing has proved inconclusive, and the test itself does take several hours.

Food Elimination Diet

Food elimination is a way to understand food intolerances and help to avoid common food allergies. Under a doctor’s supervision you will remove suspected food from your diet, then reintroduce them after a period of weeks. Your reaction to this process can be used to develop a diet that reduces the chance of allergic reactions.

Peanut Allergy Treatment Options

Oral Immunotherapy

Oral immunotherapy is a desensitization process. For peanut allergy, very small amounts of peanut proteins are gradually introduced into your diet. The intake level is increased over time, allowing your body to get used to the substance. This type of treatment can be very effective in preventing allergic reactions, thereby allowing patients to live without fear of severe and life-threatening responses.

Common Peanut Allergy Symptoms

Peanut allergy symptoms will usually begin within a few minutes of exposure. Because an allergic reaction can be expressed through different responses, don’t expect to experience every type of possible symptom. Many common symptoms of peanut allergy – seen in both adults and children – are shown below.

  • Skin – May include redness, rashes and raised welts called hives.
  • Digestion – Stomach pains are common, and could include diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Itching – An itchy or tingling feeling around the mouth, lips, or in the throat.
  • Breathing – Shortness of breath, throat tightness, wheezing.
  • Congestion – May include nasal congestion or a runny nose.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis Caused by a Peanut Allergy

Unfortunately, peanuts are a common cause of anaphylaxis, a reaction requiring emergency medical attention and epinephrine delivery. Allergy doctors may prescribe auto-injectors to patients at risk for anaphylaxis. Signs of severe allergic reaction are:

  • Extreme breathing difficulty as the throat constricts.
  • Dizziness, confusion, or loss of consciousness.
  • Fast pulse and drop in blood pressure.

Peanut allergies are unpredictable – patients can’t rely on symptoms remaining the same. For example, over the years a person may experience multiple mild allergic reactions from peanuts. However, a later exposure to peanuts (even trace amounts) could lead to anaphylaxis.

Recognizing When You Should See an Allergist

In the event of a severe reaction, contacting emergency services is critical. For mild symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist and avoid peanuts until you receive professional advice. Your allergist will develop a personalized peanut allergy treatment plan to minimize risk.

Best Practices for Peanut Allergy Sufferers

  • Make an appointment with one of our doctors for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.
  • Check the ingredients on packaging, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when dining at restaurants.
  • Carry auto-injectable epinephrine in case of emergency.
  • Wear an allergy bracelet or necklace.

Common Peanut Allergy Treatment Questions

Is there a cure for peanut allergies?

There is no single cure for a peanut allergy. However, you can learn to manage your allergy and reduce sensitivity to peanuts with oral immunotherapy.

Will my child outgrow their peanut allergy?

Some children will outgrow their allergy, though many will not. Regular appointments with an allergist can reduce the impact that peanut allergy has on day-to-day life.

What foods should I avoid?

Peanuts can be found in many items, so check the ingredients list before consumption. Along with obvious examples like peanut butter, peanuts may be found in cereals, candy, certain breads, mixed nuts, chocolate and pastries.

Overcome Your Peanut Allergy – Get Help Today

Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center is ready to help find the right solution for your or your child’s peanut allergy. You can visit the Food Allergy Treatment Center in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth, or Johns Creek. Call for an appointment at 678-668-4688.

Ask Us a Question

    Understanding Oral Immunotherapy

    Oral Immunotherapy, also known as food desensitization, is a treatment that helps you build up immunities to food allergens that could otherwise be life-threatening.

    What is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)?

    Oral immunotherapy is a treatment where a patient ingests small doses of an allergen to build up resistance.

    History of Oral Immunotherapy

    Oral immunotherapy dates back to the times of Alexander the Great. He would ingest poisons to increase immunities.

    Frequently Asked Questions About OIT

    Dr. Thomas Chacko and his team are here to answer the most common OIT questions and address your concerns.

    Oral Immunotherapy Treatments

    Before treating your food allergy, we will diagnose the allergen and then determine the best treatment option.

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