Health Services » Food Allergies

Food Allergies


  1. Peanuts are a type of nut.   True or False?
  2. More than 11,000,000 Americans have food allergies.  True or False?

Quiz Answers

  1. False – Peanuts are not nuts.  Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is actually a bean/legume vine plant that grows underground. 
  2. True – More than 11,000,000 Americans have food allergies of varying degrees of severity – at least 8% of children less than 3 years of age and 2% of the adult population in the United States.

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Signs of an Allergic Reaction

  • Itching & swelling of the lips, tongue, or mouth
  • Itching and/or a sense of tightness in the throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Hacking cough
  • Hives, itchy rash, and/or swelling about the face
  • Nausea, abdominal cramps, and/or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath, repetitive coughing, and/or wheezing
  • Congested, runny nose
  • Thready pulse, “passing out”
  • Feeling of doom

Some Hidden Sources of Peanuts

  • Ice cream
  • Candy
  • Vegetarian burgers
  • Baking mixes
  • Cereals
  • Crackers
  • Pesto
  • Chocolate
  • Sauces – peanuts can often used as a thicken agent
  • Marzipan
  • Soups – especially dried soups


Food Allergies 101

What is a food allergy? 

            A food allergy is an adverse reaction to a food that is triggered by the body’s immune system.  During a reaction, the body releases chemicals that can affect the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, the cardiovascular system, and the skin.

What is anaphylaxis?

            Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.  Common causes of anaphylaxis include: food, insect stings, latex, and medication.  

What foods can people be allergic to?

            The most common foods that people are allergic to include: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Eggs, Shellfish, Fin Fish, Milk, Soy, and Wheat. 

How can food allergies be treated?

            The best way to prevent a reaction is to avoid the food that causes signs and symptoms.  People at risk for anaphylaxis may carry a medication called epinephrine, often called an Epi-Pen, which can be injected if a reaction occurs.

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