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What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Peanut Butter?

Signs of an allergic reaction to peanut butter may include hives.
Stomach pains can be a sign of an allergic reaction to peanut butter.
A jar of peanut butter.
Anaphylaxis, a severe reaction to an allergen, can occur after eating peanut butter.
EpiPens are used in the treatment of severe allergic reactions.
Article Details
  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Images By: Marilyn Barbone, Julija Sapic, Sander, Laurent Hamels, Greg Friese
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
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The signs of an allergic reaction to peanut butter typically include skin reactions, like hives or eczema. Some people may have stomach and digestive trouble, or experience other common allergy symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing. In some cases, the reaction can be severe and may include facial swelling and trouble breathing.

A rash or other reaction on the skin is a very common allergic reaction to peanut butter and other foods. Usually, a skin reaction is considered a mild reaction. A person may break out into hives or raised red rashes on the skin or experience mild swelling in the face. There may also be a feeling of itchiness or tingling when an allergic person is exposed to peanuts or peanut butter. Eczema, an inflammation of the skin that's often characterized by red, flaky patches, is another common reaction to certain foods.

Some people experience digestive problems when they eat peanut butter. They may have diarrhea or vomiting, along with stomach pains and cramps. The reaction usually passes once the peanut butter is out of the person's system.

More general signs of an allergic reaction can occur after a person is exposed to peanuts. His eyes may water, and his nose may become congested or runny. Sometimes, peanut butter can trigger an asthma attack in a person who is allergic. He can experience wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Some people may feel as though they will faint or have chest pain.

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Peanut allergies often cause a very severe reaction, even if a person is exposed to only a very small amount of peanuts or peanut butter. Anaphylaxis is a very common reaction in people with this allergy. Signs of anaphylaxis include a sudden drop in blood pressure and swelling in the throat that makes breathing difficult. A person may pass out or become extremely dizzy. Usually, the heart rate increases.

When someone experiences anaphylaxis, he needs to go to the emergency room right away. Typically, a person with a severe peanut allergy will carry an epinephrine injector, which he can inject into the thigh when a severe reaction occurs. People with minor reactions may recover with over-the-counter antihistamines.

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction to peanut butter is to avoid the ingredient completely. A person who is allergic needs to be diligent about reading food labels and eating only foods that are guaranteed to be free of any peanut products. Some people also need to be careful about eating tree nuts such as almonds, as they may trigger a similar reaction.

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