Almost everyone will know somebody with a peanut allergy – and many may even have an allergy themselves. In fact, between 1997 and 2008, researchers found that the rate of childhood peanut allergy more than tripled. With such a rapid increase, it’s natural to ask just why so many people are allergic to peanuts? Here are the main reasons allergists believe peanut allergies are so common in Atlanta and across the country.
Why Peanut Allergies Are so Common
While there is no single reason that explains the growing rate of peanut allergy, a number of factors play a role. Peanut preparation (dry roasted vs. boiled or fried), delayed consumption of peanuts in young children, genetic factors, skin adaptations caused by regular bathing that lets peanut proteins penetrate the skin, changing agricultural methods and a weakened immune system may all be to blame.
- Peanut preparation – A study found the allergenicity of peanuts was reduced after boiling or frying as opposed to dry roasting. The higher temperatures used in roasting actually increase the allergenic properties of peanuts.
- No peanut consumption in the early years – It became common practice to recommend against giving peanuts to young children. While there is still much debate, some believe delayed consumption increases the likelihood of allergic reactions in later years.
- Genetic factors – One reason why many kids are allergic to peanuts is due to their genetics. If their parents are allergic, they may also have a low tolerance.
- Changes to the skin – Research is ongoing into the idea that daily washing with soap and detergents makes it easier for peanut proteins to penetrate the skin.
- Agricultural methods and soil toxins – Toxins in the soil where peanuts are grown could be a contributing factor to increased allergenicity, though this has not yet been proven.
- Less active immune system – As improvements to health and hygiene continue, the immune system is required to tackle fewer parasitic infections. This could be a factor for an immune system that reacts to harmless substances.
Is It Possible to Treat a Peanut Allergy?
As an initial step in preventing allergic reactions, avoiding peanuts is highly recommended. Sadly, 200,000 people in the United States require emergency treatment for food allergies each year. Faced with this possibility, many patients are turning to advanced treatments like oral immunotherapy (OIT) that increase tolerance to peanuts and other foods. By desensitizing the immune system to peanut proteins, countless adults and children are safe from the dangers of a severe allergic reaction.
Effective Treatment for People Allergic to Peanuts
If you are concerned about a peanut allergy affecting you or your child, don’t hesitate to contact Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center. From our allergy centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek, we provide allergy testing and treatment for peanuts and other foods. Call (678) 668-4688 or request help online.
Image Credit – Vladeep/Shutterstock.com