A Long Road To Find Some Healthy Snacks
For many children and adults living with peanut allergy, life is like an obstacle course when you are trying to find some healthy snacks. Trying to avoid the many foods made with or near this popular ingredient is no easy chore.
Because it is one the most common food allergens, peanuts rank near the top in frequency. This is a very common concern that tends to usually start in very young children. Unlike allergies to eggs and other foods where people often outgrow their allergy, those who are allergic to peanuts tend to stay that way the rest of their life.
When peanut allergy sufferers understand what to watch out for and what they can eat, living with this condition is possible. Constant diligence is a must though as many foods do contain this product and yet many people still fail to understand the severity with which this condition does present.
A Look At The Allergy Itself
Some people are so allergic to this food that even coming into contact with peanuts, whether by touch or smell, can cause reactions. News stories have even highlighted this condition, showing that the allergy can be present so severely that a kiss from someone who has recently consumed peanuts can kill a sufferer.
Cross Contamination Worries
One of the biggest problems for people with a severe form of this condition is the worry of cross contamination. All too often even prepackaged foods that are peanut-free are made in locations where cross contamination can occur.
Chocolate, snacks, seeds and tree nut selections candy and other items even labeled with no peanuts can still increase risk for an allergic reaction if the utensils they have been made with came in contact with peanuts or peanut oil.
Keeping Life Safe
Just because a person has an allergy to peanuts doesn’t mean they have to live life in a bubble. It does mean taking care though before eating or coming into contact with foods. These tips can help sufferers stay safe:
- Remove allergens from your home – If allergic reactions are severe, make sure to clean out peanut oil, peanuts and peanut butter from the home environment. To avoid the risk of cross contamination, research labels and cooking procedures on prepackaged foods before buying them.
- Check with restaurants in advance – Many restaurants use peanut oil and other peanut-based products in their recipes. Check in advance for safety before trying to eat or enter an establishment. Many restaurants will bend over backwards to accommodate customers with this allergy.
- Make others aware of the condition – It is imperative for schools, friends and other adults in a person’s life know the allergy is present and its severity. Accommodations cannot be made for a child or adult if other people are not given the opportunity to make preparations in advance.
- Make homemade snacks – While allergy sufferers have a hard time with prepackaged candy like brittle, clusters, snacks and kisses, it is possible to make snacks at home that will work. Get creative and even explore sugar free options for more healthful, peanut-free snacks.
Peanut allergy is now a big concern in households, schools, airlines and restaurants all over the world. Safe peanut free snacks are available though if you know which companies do cater to this particular concern. To avoid complications though, tread with extreme care.
Avoid Peanut Allergens:
The life task to avoid peanut allergens by finding healthy snacks if you have an allergy or intolerance can be a challenge. The following is a general chart listing names or products that normally contain peanut oils/allergens.
Read down this list and as you are reading ingredient labels, if you see any of these avoid this product. It is not safe for you to consume.
This list is by no means complete. You will need to be vigilant in order to avoid peanut allergens. Manufacturers are re-formulating their products all of the time. If you see something you do not recognize, either contact the manufacturer or your doctor before eating it to verify its safety.
Watch for these items in a product label in order to avoid peanut protein:
- All cakes and pastries with no ingredient label
- Arachis oil/ arachia
- Artificial nuts
- Beer nuts
- Bouillon/broth- check label
- Chili- many use peanut butter for thickener
- Chocolate- check label
- Cold pressed, extruded or expelled peanut oil
- Crushed nuts in sauce
- Egg Rolls- many use peanut butter
- Emulsifier- may contain traces of nuts
- Enchilada sauce
- Ground nuts
- Mandelonas (almond-flavored peanuts)
- Mixed Nuts
- Muesli (fruited, nut breakfast cereal)
- Natural and Artificial flavorings -usually nut oils
- Nut meats
- Nut pieces
- Peanut Butter
- Peanut, Peanut flour
- Praline/ nougat
- Prepared salads, salad dressings
- Pumpkin seeds- check for cross contamination
- Sunflower seeds- check for cross contamination
- Worcestershire sauce
During the first stages, after diagnosis, do not worry if you are nervous or scared about your immediate future.
The hardest part will be upcoming within the next few weeks as you try to understand what you may have in your diet-and therefore what is necessary for you to stay away from. Copy this list and keep this form with you as you go grocery shopping, go out to eat, or anywhere that you know you must remember – “Is that item on my Peanut Allergy not safe list?”
Peanut Butter Allergy:
A peanut butter allergy can be considered one of the most dangerous of all allergies. If you are very sensitive to peanuts, be determined to find some healthy snacks because it does not matter how small the amount of exposure was, a tiny miniscule taste of peanuts can result in anaphylactic shock.
Many people are even sensitive to the airborne particulates (if they smell it) or by touch (touch a knife that was used to spread peanut butter or grab a doorknob when a previous person had ate a peanut butter sandwich). Therefore, an allergy to peanut butter is one of the most difficult allergens to control from accidental exposure.
Signs and Symptoms
Since an allergy to peanuts can start at any time in your life, a peanut butter allergy can also be triggered the same. For a mild sensitivity the usual symptoms will include:
- Itching and swelling in your mouth or anywhere on your body
- Reddish skin welts or hives
As the degree of sensitivity enlarges, many people can show signs of anaphylactic shock. This will include the following signs also:
- Swelling of the throat, tongue and air passageways
- Labored breathing
- Severe drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty in finding vital signs
Once an individual reaches this acute stage after exposure to the allergen, emergency medical treatment is an absolute necessity. Immediately call 911 and explain the situation quickly, administer the Epi-Pen (any person with a severe allergy to peanuts should always have one among their possessions).
Be sure to keep the individual lying down flat (do not let them sit up) and repeatedly get in the habit of checking their vital signs every few minutes (A quick check includes make sure they are breathing in and out plus check their pulse with your fingertips at their wrist). As soon as Emergency personnel arrives, quickly explain any details which has transpired.
How To Prevent Or Cure A Peanut Butter Allergy
As of this time, there is no such thing as any prevention or a cure for this allergen. The only treatment is the strict avoidance of the peanut. Testing and research are being carried out daily to try to lessen the severity of an allergic reaction. Many countries in the world are trying various methods of de-sensitizing people, but as of now these procedures are still experimental in the testing phase.
Considering any exposure to the peanut can lead to symptoms of greater severity with each time you come in contact, if you notice any signs and are wondering if a peanut butter allergy may be a possibility, play it safe and see a doctor or allergist for testing.