What increases the risk for peanut allergy?

Researchers have yet to discover what causes a person to develop a peanut allergy. For some reason, your immune system decides that peanut proteins are a threat to your body and develops antibodies that will cause an allergic reaction when you next encounter peanut protein. When you come into contact with peanuts either by ingestion, skin contact or inhalation, those antibodies release chemicals that cause swelling in nearby tissue. In a severe allergic reaction, this can begin a domino effect that harms other body tissue.

Children are most at risk for developing peanut allergy and any other food allergy. Peanut allergy symptoms usually start to appear within the first few years of childhood. Interestingly, about one in five children eventually outgrow peanut allergy. People whose parents have had any type of allergy-especially food allergy-are at a higher risk for developing a peanut allergy. Also, studies suggest that people who live in an urban area are more likely to develop allergies than people who live in more rural settings.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.