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About Allergies

Por Andrea Bianchi, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ Team -

A food allergy is an abnormal reaction that is triggered when the immune system determines a certain food or substance may be harmful to the body and therefore tries to eliminate it. There are eight major foods, including peanuts, which cause 90% of food allergies.

Peanuts can cause hazardous reactions if you're allergic to them. When your body recognizes a strange substance, it produces several chemical compounds that affect your skin, lungs, digestive system, eyes, and other systems in your body.

The symptoms of  allergic reactions may vary: stomach ache, skin rash, nasal congestion, and diarrhea. However, there are more serious symptoms, such as anaphylaxis, a condition in which your respiratory tract becomes obstructed, hindering the passage of air and causing a deadly situation if not treated promptly. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Loss of consciousness.

The usual treatment for allergies is an antihistamine drug to relieve symptoms (nasal congestion, skin rash, etc.) and reduce the reaction. However, if you have a more severe condition, you might need an epinephrine injection, a drug that acts quickly on your body to counteract the allergic reaction. After getting this injection, you should immediately go to a hospital, because the symptoms may reappear after a while.

Here are some precautions you should take if you're allergic to peanuts:

  1. Stay away from foods that contain peanuts, such as certain chocolate bars.
  2. Avoid foods that are derived from peanuts, such as peanut oil.
  3. Make sure to  read food labels.All food products must specify if they contain allergenic ingredients.
  4. Learn how to recognize the early symptoms of an allergic reaction.
  5. If you're allergic to peanuts, make sure to know what to do in case of an unexpected reaction.
  6. Always keep an antihistamine(cream, medicine, eye drops) handy or the epinephrine injections prescribed by your doctor, in case of an allergic reaction.
  7. Consult your doctor.


WebMD (2007). Peanut Allergy – Overview. Retrieved on December, 2008 from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Department Health and Human Services (2007). Food Allergies, What You Need to Know. Retrieved on January, 2009 from


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