What are the signs of a peanut allergy in a baby?
The signs of peanut allergies in babies are sometimes hard to recognize because in many cases infants who develop this allergy have varying symptoms or no obvious signs after their initial exposure.
In fact, the signs may not become apparent for up to six months after exposure to peanuts or other tree nuts. Statistics show that only 10 percent of parents report signs or symptoms when their children eat peanuts for the first time.
Therefore, you may be surprised to know that a peanut allergy symptom in a baby may happen as young as six months of age! Parents just do not realize it until sometime after the initial exposure.
In addition, you should know that signs and symptoms of peanut allergies are distinct and vary from person to person; signs and symptoms may manifest in many different ways. Parents often do not detect peanut allergies until severe reactions occur.
Awareness of peanut allergies in babies has risen due to a variety of organizations and their efforts in educating the public about this condition.
Signs of a peanut allergy in a baby may include:
- Hives, Skin Rash - The rash is red, itchy, and very uncomfortable for your baby. It can be inside or outside (atopic dermatitis).
- Redness around the mouth or skin area that came into contact with the peanuts.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Frequent Sneezing - Tiny little blood vessels in your baby's nose will burst. This is a sign of being sensitive to certain food particles entering the body.
- Breathing Difficulty - The inside of your child's mouth and throat becomes swollen which can block the airways from breathing (wheezing).
- Stomach pain - distress such as vomiting or diarrhea.
- Children with severe peanut allergies often have signs of anaphylactic shock.
How to find out if my baby has a peanut allergy?
When introducing a new food, parents should watch their infant for signs of an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction could happen as soon as seconds and up to two (2) hours after eating the new food.
If signs continue for more than 12 hours after contact with peanuts, contact your doctor.
Signs of a peanut allergy in babies can be warning of allergies to other foods as well. Unlike other food allergies, a peanut allergy can often lessen or disappear as kids get older. Although, in more severe cases a peanut allergy could be both life-threatening and lifelong.
How long after eating peanuts will an allergic reaction occur?
It can take up to 2 hours for signs of a peanut allergy reaction to show up, but sometimes in more severe cases signs and symptoms will appear immediately within minutes.
For infants with a life-threatening peanut allergy the symptoms will usually come on very quickly (within minutes) after coming into contact with peanuts due to a sudden release of chemicals in the immune system (the immune system mistakenly seeing peanuts as a threat to your baby's health).
How long does a peanut allergy reaction last?
The signs and symptoms of peanut allergies are generally short-lived, but in some cases, they may last for a longer period of time.
If signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction do not go away on their own, the child might be given medicine to treat their signs and symptoms. This can prevent the reaction from getting worse.
Can I prevent my baby from developing a peanut allergy?
Based on recent research and statistics, it appears that eating peanuts during pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of children developing allergies. However, this should not replace a doctor's advice. Babies exposed to peanuts during their first 11 months had 50% less chance of experiencing an allergic reaction than those who were not exposed until later in life (or not at all). This is because their infant immune systems are still immature; therefore, any initial exposure will be a good foundation for healthy future development.
Can babies grow out of peanut allergy if they are exposed to peanuts as a toddler?
Recent studies of children with peanut allergies show a child is more likely to outgrow a peanut allergy by age 5 if they:
- only experience mild reactions
- only have a peanut allergy
- do not also have eczema and asthma
Are Peanut allergies the most common food allergies for an infant?
Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy, and tree nuts also included. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions. Nearly 5 percent of children under the age of five years have food allergies. In about 20% of cases, infants will outgrow their food allergy by the age of 5.
Food allergies tend to arise between 6 months and 1 year, though some toddlers do not develop a peanut allergy until they are between one and three years old.
Is a peanut allergy and a peanut butter allergy the same thing?
They are very much the same. A peanut allergy is simply a sensitivity to peanuts, whereas a peanut butter allergy involves a person's reaction to an item that contains peanuts.
Peanut allergies come about through both genetic and environmental factors; if your child has any immediate family with peanut allergies than the chances of having this peanut intolerance greatly increase.
If you are excited to introduce peanuts into your baby's diet, take it one step at a time and make sure you adhere to the signs of peanut allergies in babies before introducing any other types of nuts or products containing peanuts.
People who are allergic to peanuts may not be allergic to other nuts. Peanuts, despite their misleading name, are a legume and not a nut. Other true nuts grow on trees, but peanuts are seeds.
Why are so many kids allergic to peanuts?
A recent study conducted by a group of scientists at R.O.C.G., the Research Institute of Child Nutrition, in The Netherlands concluded that the increase is linked to changes in child-feeding practices, diet choices, and lifestyle combined with genetic factors. A peanut allergy is non-discriminating and affects both boys and girls.
There has been a rapid increase in peanut allergies over the past few decades. Some new research presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Annual Scientific Meeting suggests that peanut allergy in U.S. children has increased by 21% since 2010, implying an allergy rate of nearly 2.5%.
If you have any close relatives with a peanut allergy, your risk of being allergic to peanuts is as high as 7%. But if you do not, then your risk is limited to 0.5%.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) statistics show that more than 30 million Americans are living with a peanut allergy.
Are Airborne Peanut Allergies Real?
There has never been a documented case of a baby reacting to peanut simply by being near it. Nearly all households with kids have some "peanut dust" lying around, but no one has ever reported an allergy from that exposure.
Even in infants with severe peanut allergies, airborne reactions are exceedingly rare.
There have been documented cases of older children and adults reacting to peanuts simply by being around them, but infants are different. If you are an adult out in public and you are concerned with coming into contact with airborne peanut dust and or touching a surface the has peanut residue you should consider getting the Healthy Lifestyle kit from Seat Sitters. This Kit provides a protective layer between you and public seating. Or the Healthy Airplane Travel Kit from Seat Sitters if you are traveling.
Is there a Cure for peanut allergies?
At the moment, there is no cure for peanut allergies, but new medical treatments are available that may help increase tolerance.
There is a type of treatment called Palfoezia that helps reduce the immune systems response to peanuts. The medication is actually a powder made from peanuts and it is gradually increased over several months.
Peanut oral immunotherapy might be a promising approach for peanut allergies, but the frequent reactions and limited success rate make it difficult to establish. The anti-IgE medication, omalizumab (Xolair; Genentech) may enable more rapid administration of peanuts and lower rates of adverse effects.
If your infant or child is allergic to peanuts, you must always be alert. Safety precautions should be taken every time you feed your child. You must always check ingredients to find out if something you are serving your baby or child may have been packaged or prepared near peanuts and/or other tree nuts.
Are peanuts considered tree nuts?
Peanuts are not the same as tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans and more), which grow on trees. (Though up to 40% of children with tree nut allergies have an allergy to peanuts). Peanuts grow underground and are part of a different plant family, the legumes.
What are the signs of a peanut allergy in a breastfed baby?
If you are breastfeeding your baby when an allergy to peanuts develops, there may be some early signs of a reaction. These include:
- A rash (including red, raised, or itchy skin)
- Tummy ache and/or vomiting (this may be more likely if the baby is also fed formula containing cow's milk)
- Irritability or fussiness (it may seem like teething symptoms)
- However, many breastfed babies with a peanut allergy develop no early signs of an allergy.
If you think that your baby has a peanut allergy you should consult with your pediatrician. Here are a few more resources that can educate you on how to determine if your child has peanut allergies and what you can do.