To get the most from your appointment, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
- Description of your symptoms. Be ready to tell your doctor what happened after you ate peanuts, including how long it took for a reaction to occur. Try to recall how many peanuts you ate. If you don't know how many peanuts you ate, tell your doctor which peanut-containing food triggered your symptoms and how much of the food you ate.
- Make a list of all medications you're taking. Include vitamins or supplements.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who comes with you may remember something you missed or forgot.
- Write down any questions you have.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Are my symptoms likely caused by peanut allergy?
- What else might be causing my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- What's the best treatment?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector?
If your child is seeing the doctor for a peanut allergy, you may also want to ask:
- Are there alternatives to the food or foods that trigger my child's allergy symptoms?
- How can I help keep my child with peanut allergy safe at school?
- Is my child likely to outgrow his or her allergy?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin noticing symptoms?
- After eating peanuts, how long did it take symptoms to appear?
- What quantity of peanuts did you eat?
- Did you take any over-the-counter allergy medications, such as antihistamines, and if so, did they help?
- Does your reaction seem to be triggered only by peanuts or by other foods as well?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If you suspect you have a peanut allergy, avoid exposure to peanuts until your doctor's appointment. If you have a severe reaction, seek emergency help.
June 11, 2015
- Peanut Allergy. Food Allergy Research and Education. http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/peanut-allergy. Accessed March 25, 2015.
- Adkinson NF, et al. Food allergy management. In: Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Anagnostou K, et al. The management of peanut allergy. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2015;100:68.
- Sampson HA. Peanut, tree nut, and seed allergy: Clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Sampson HA. Peanut, tree nut, and seed allergy: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Adverse reactions to foods. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Summary of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel report. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Accessed March 27, 2015.
- Diagnosis. Food allergy. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/understanding/Pages/diagnosis.aspx. Accessed March 31, 3015.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Food Allergy Guidelines Backgrounder. http://epipen.mediaroom.com/press-kit. Accessed March 31, 2015.
- Du Toit G, et al. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine. 2015:372;803.
- Wood RA. Food allergy in children: Prevalence, natural history, and monitoring for resolution. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Munoz-Furlong A. Food allergy in schools and camps. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Simons FER, et al. Anaphylaxis: Rapid recognition and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 26, 2015.
- Anagnostou K, et al. Peanut immunotherapy. Clinical and Translational Allergy. 2014:4;1.
- Li JT (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 1, 2015.