Peanut Allergy - Overview
How is it treated?
If you accidentally eat a
peanut, follow your doctor's instructions. For a mild reaction, you may only
need to take an
antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine hydrochloride
(Benadryl), to reduce your symptoms of a runny nose or itchy skin.
If your allergic reaction is more severe, be sure to follow your doctor's
instructions for this type of reaction. If you have had a severe reaction
previously, your doctor has probably prescribed a medicine called
epinephrine. Give yourself the epinephrine shot, take
an antihistamine, and call 911 for further
For more information on how to give an epinephrine
- Allergies: Giving Yourself an Epinephrine Shot.
- Allergies in Children: Giving an Epinephrine Shot to a Child.
Even if you feel better after giving yourself the shot,
symptoms of anaphylaxis can recur or suddenly appear hours later. You need to
be observed in a hospital for several hours after your symptoms go away.
If you do not have epinephrine and are having a severe allergic
How can I avoid an allergic reaction?
an allergic reaction to peanuts:
- Understand your allergy and know that you
need to protect yourself. Read food labels or ask kitchen staff at restaurants
if there are peanuts or peanut oils hidden in any of the foods you order. For
example, some cooks thicken chili with peanut butter.
that no amount of peanut is safe. Some people are so severely allergic to
peanuts that being near them or breathing air that contains peanut residue can
cause an allergic reaction.
- Let others know that you or your child
has a peanut allergy. Make sure that all caregivers (such as school
administrators, teachers, babysitters, and coaches), friends, and coworkers:
- Know what the symptoms of an allergic
reaction look like.
- Know where the epinephrine shot is kept and how
to give the shot.
- Have a plan to transport you or your child to the
- Wear a
medical alert bracelet or medallion that lists your peanut allergy. This will
alert emergency response workers if you have a severe allergic reaction.
Medical alert jewelry can be ordered through most pharmacies or on the
- Keep your epinephrine shot with you at all times. Make
sure older children know how to give you or themselves the shot. Talk with your
doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure how to give yourself the
- Keep an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine hydrochloride
(Benadryl) with you at all times. These medicines can be used in addition to
epinephrine and are often helpful in both mild and severe allergic
If you think you are having an allergic reaction:
- Get help. Do not minimize the seriousness of the
- After you give yourself an epinephrine shot, call your
doctor immediately or seek other emergency services. You will need to be
observed for several hours to make sure the reaction does not recur.