Peanut Allergy...The Shocking Facts
Peanut allergy is the most common cause of deaths from food allergy.
Allergy to peanuts affects 1.3% of the general population. Peanut
allergy affects 7 percent of brothers and sisters of persons with the
allergy. (British Medical Journal 1996;313:518-521.)
Facts About Peanut Allergy
Peanut Allergy Prevalence
- Peanut and
tree nut (pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.) allergy can be a serious condition
that affects approximately three million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the
- Peanuts are the leading
cause of severe food allergic reactions, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts
and eggs. (Food Allergy Network)
- Peanut allergy can be
characterized by more severe symptoms, such as gastrointestinal, skin and
respiratory symptoms, than other food allergies and by a high rate of symptoms
on minimal contact. ("Clinical characteristics of peanut allergy," Clin.
Exp. Allergy, 1997; "An evaluation of the sensitivity of subjects with
peanut allergy to very low doses of peanut protein," J. Allergy Clin.
- Severe sufferers also may
experience potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shock in response to
ingestion of peanuts. Anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction in which the
release of histamine causes swelling, difficulty in breathing, heart failure,
circulatory collapse, and sometimes death.
- As many as one-third of
peanut-sensitive patients have severe reactions, such as fatal and near-fatal
anaphylaxis. ("Anaphylactic deaths in asthmatic patients," Allergy
- Avoidance of peanuts is
very difficult because peanuts are commonly used as an adulterant in the
preparation of foods. (Allergic reaction to inadvertent peanut contact in a
child," Allergy Asthma Proc., 1997)