(Allergy, Peanut; Nut Allergy; Allergy, Nut)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A peanut allergy is an abnormal response to peanuts. It can be mild or deadly.
It can happen when a person is exposed to peanut proteins. The body mistakes the proteins as being harmful. This makes the immune system send chemicals into the blood that cause the response to happen.
Exposure to peanuts can happen by:
Peanut allergy often starts when a person is a child. It may also start or carry on when a person is an adult. Things that may put you at risk are:
Problems may be:
Anaphylaxis is a response that can be deadly. It may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
You will be tested with a:
You may need to see a doctor who treats allergies.
People with a severe response may need medical care right away.
A mild peanut allergy can be managed. Options are:
The best way to manage this allergy is to avoid peanuts, foods with peanuts, and foods that may have been around peanuts. Always read food labels. Do this even if you do not think a food has peanuts in it. Most labels will state whether the factory where a food was made also works with peanuts. Always ask for the items in homemade foods to check peanuts or peanut oil. Ask if the item was made with kitchen tools that have come in contact with peanuts.
Medicine can ease symptoms. It should only be taken if a person is exposed to peanuts by accident. They may be:
People with severe reactions may need epinephrine. It is injected into the thigh. It needs to be carried at all times.
To lower the chance of peanut allergy:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Food Allergy Research & Education
Anagnostou K, Clark A. The management of peanut allergy. Arch Dis Child. 2015 Jan;100(1):68-72.
Anaphylaxis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anaphylaxis. Updated March 22, 2019. Accessed September 18, 2019.
Fleischer DM, Sichere S, Greenhawt M, et al. Consensus communication on early peanut introduction and the prevention of peanut allergy in high-risk infants. Pediatrics. 2015;136(3):600-604.
Nut and peanut allergy. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 2018. Accessed September 18, 2019.
Peanut allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 14, 2019. Accessed September 18, 2019.
Peanut allergy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/peanut-allergy. Updated May 14, 2019. Accessed September 18, 2019.
Peanut allergy. FARE—Food Allergy Research & Education website. Available at: https://www.foodallergy.org/common-allergens/peanut. Accessed September 18, 2019.
1/2/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/peanut-allergy: Frazier A, Camargo C, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Young MC. Prospective study of peripregnancy consumption of peanuts or tree nuts by mothers and the risk of peanut or tree nut allergy in their offspring. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;168(2):156-162.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Rishikof, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP
Last Updated: 6/3/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.