Peanut Allergies and Their Prevalence in Children
In recent years, the rise in peanut allergies among children has become an unfortunate phenomenon. In fact, studies suggest that the years 2010 to 2017 saw a 21% increase in reported cases in the US. With around 2.5% of children negatively impacted, many Atlanta parents are naturally wary of their child’s food intake and want access to peanut allergy treatment options. But just why are so many children suffering from peanut allergies?
Why Do Children Become Allergic to Peanuts?
Children of any age can experience an allergic reaction to peanuts. In many cases, the first time eating a product containing peanut traces is enough to set off a reaction. The reason for the response is an overactive immune system that identifies proteins in the peanut as a threat. An antibody called immunoglobulin E is produced which causes chemicals to be released. The result is an allergic reaction – one that could potentially be life-threatening.
There is no single reason why so many kids are allergic to peanuts today, but some factors that contribute to this issue are described below.
Having other allergies increases the chances of having a peanut allergy. For example, suffering from hay fever makes it more likely that you will become allergic to different foods over time.
Family History of Allergies
If other family members have a peanut allergy, there is a greater chance that a child will respond badly to the food.
Undeveloped Immune System
Peanut allergies are often experienced at a young age, when the immune system is still developing. Some kids grow out of the allergy, but many experience allergic reactions throughout their lifetime.
Lack of Vitamin D
Some research suggests a lack of Vitamin D contributes to an increase in peanut allergies. Children are spending less time outdoors than did previous generations, and this can certainly impact the immune system. Vitamin D won’t help treat a peanut allergy, but it could help prevent one from developing in the early years.
Can You Treat a Peanut Allergy?
The common assumption about allergies is that you need to avoid contact with the responsible allergen. While this approach will help you avoid an allergic reaction, with peanut traces prevalent in so many products, it is quite difficult to maintain avoidance. If you want to live without worry about accidentally consuming peanuts, you should consider oral immunotherapy treatment.
Oral immunotherapy involves eating small amounts of peanut protein until the immune system builds up a tolerance. The amount of peanuts you eat is gradually increased over the course of a year, desensitizing you to the allergen. Oral immunotherapy has proven to be an effective response to peanut allergies, and is performed by a limited number of experienced allergists.
Get Treatment for a Peanut Allergy
If you’re concerned your child has a peanut allergy, don’t delay in treating the problem. Dr. Chacko provides allergy testing and effective treatments for children of all ages. Visit us at one of our food allergy treatment center locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek by calling 678-668-4688.
Image Credit – Albina Gavrilovic/Shutterstock.com