A peanut allergy diagnosis does not mean that all nuts must be avoided. Because peanuts are legumes, other types of nuts are often safe to eat, such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews. However, since it is possible to be both allergic to peanuts and to tree nuts and seeds, a clinical evaluation and diagnosis is crucial. Once a diagnosis is given, patients should freely eat the foods that they are not allergic to.
Ingredients to Avoid for Peanut Allergy
Allergic reactions from accidental ingestion of peanuts are often the most severe. In addition to peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter and peanut flour, peanut protein may be listed as an ingredient on a food label in several different ways:
- Arachic oil
- Arachis hypogaea
- Artificial nuts
- Beer nuts
- Crushed nuts
- Earth nuts
- Goober peas
- Ground nuts
- Hydrolyzed peanut protein
- Hypogaeic acid
- Mixed nuts
- Monkey nuts
- Nu nuts flavored nuts
- Nut pieces
Foods That Commonly Contain Peanut
Peanuts can be present within numerous types of foods. It is important to always check the ingredients for these common foods:
- Frozen yogurt
- Ice cream
- Sundae toppings
- Soup mix
- Dried fruits
- Granola bars
- Dried salad dressing
- Fried foods (i.e., foods fried in peanut oil)
Those with a peanut allergy must carefully read all ingredient labels, as even a non-threatening vegetarian meat substitute or a bowl of chili may include peanuts. Additionally, foods that have been fried in peanut oil encompass a wide range of household staples, such as potato chips, popcorn, or foods that contain hydrolyzed plant/vegetable protein.
An allergic reaction may even be triggered by non-food items. Peanut proteins can be present in vitamins, skin creams, cosmetics, sunscreen, craft materials, toy stuffing, pet food, bird feed, and even ant baits or mouse traps.
Peanut Allergy Treatment Options
At Latitude Food Allergy Care, we provide oral immunotherapy (OIT) to help patients improve their quality of life. OIT is approximately 85 percent effective for single or multiple food allergies and is safe for all ages.
The goal of oral immunotherapy is to continually expose the patient to increasing amounts of an allergen. As OIT progresses, the body is gradually desensitized and learns to adapt to the allergen. This allows for fewer dietary restrictions, and protects against severe or life-threatening reactions due to accidental exposure.
To determine whether a patient may be a candidate for OIT, our expert clinical team will evaluate existing conditions, collect full medical history, and discuss lifestyle. Latitude Food Allergy Care patients may also choose to include Palforzia in their treatment plan, an FDA-approved drug for peanut allergy treatment.
Recent research into peanut allergy treatment shows promising advancements for future therapies. New treatments may include sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), where small amounts of an allergen is held under the tongue for small periods of time, and epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT), where an adhesive patch allows for minute amounts of an allergen to penetrate the skin.
In 2017, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) published updated guidelines for early introduction of peanuts to infants for prevention of food allergies. Early introduction of peanut is especially recommended for infants with eczema who have a higher risk of developing a food allergy and families that have a history of food allergies. Assessment of risk for an infant should be done by a skilled clinician.