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:
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- 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
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