One of the keys to preventing an allergic reaction is knowing how to avoid the food that causes your symptoms. Follow these steps:
Never assume a food doesn't contain peanuts. Peanuts may be in foods that you never thought contained them. Always read labels on manufactured foods to make sure they don't contain peanuts or peanut products. Manufactured foods are required to clearly state whether foods contain any peanuts and if they were produced in factories that also process peanuts.
Even if you think you know what's in a food, check the label. Ingredients may change.
- Don't ignore a label that says a food was produced in a factory that processes peanuts. Most people with a peanut allergy need to avoid all products that could contain even trace amounts of peanuts.
- When in doubt, say no thanks. At restaurants and social gatherings, you're always taking a risk that you might accidentally eat peanuts. Many people don't understand the seriousness of an allergic food reaction and may not realize that a tiny amount of a food can cause a severe reaction in some people. If you have any suspicion at all that a food may contain something you're allergic to, steer clear.
- Be prepared for a reaction. Talk with your doctor about carrying emergency medications in case of severe reaction.
Avoiding foods that contain peanuts
Peanuts are common, and avoiding foods that contain them can be a challenge. The following foods often contain peanuts:
- Ground or mixed nuts
- Baked goods, such as cookies and pastries
- Ice cream and frozen desserts
- Energy bars
- Cereals and granola
- Grain breads
- Marzipan, a molding confection made of nuts, egg whites and sugar
Less obvious foods may contain peanuts or peanut proteins, either because they were made with them or because they came in contact with them during the manufacturing process. Some examples include:
Jun. 27, 2012
- Salad dressings
- Chocolate candies, nut butters (such as almond butter) and sunflower seeds
- Cultural foods including African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese dishes
- Foods sold in bakeries and ice-cream shops
- Arachis oil, another name for peanut oil
- Pet food
- Peanuts. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. http://www.foodallergy.org/page/peanuts. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Food allergy: An overview. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/research/Pages/ReportFoodAllergy.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Husain Z, et al. Peanut allergy: An increasingly common life-threatening disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2012;66:136.
- Finkelman FD. Peanut allergy and anaphylaxis. Current Opinion in Immunology. 2010;22:783.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6358201. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6589316. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Pansare M, et al. Peanut allergy. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2010;22:642.
- Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: Summary of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel report. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/clinical/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed March 6, 2012.
- School guidelines for managing students with food allergies. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. http://www.foodallergy.org/page/food-allergy--anaphylaxis-network-guidelines. Accessed March 6, 2012.
- Peanut allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/types/Pages/peanut-allergy.aspx. Accessed March 6, 2012.
- Kim EH, et al. Sublingual immunotherapy for peanut allergy: Clinical and immunologic evidence of desensitization. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011;127:640.
- Stahl MC, et al. Potential therapies for peanut allergy. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2011;106:179.
- Varshney P, et al. A randomized controlled study of peanut oral immunotherapy: Clinical desensitization and modulation of the allergic response. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011;127:654.