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Study shows possible correlation between socioeconomic status and peanut allergy

Category: Environmental Toxin Testing

A recent study presented at the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) meeting, revealed that peanut allergies may be linked to families with higher economic socioeconomic statuses.

The theory is based on the "hygiene hypothesis" that many allergists share, which states that people who grow up in more sanitary households have less exposure to germs and a less developed immune system, which makes them more vulnerable to allergies.

The researchers noted that affluence may not be tied to all peanut allergies, but it has a strong chance of being linked to the allergies developed earlier on in life.

"Overall household income is only associated with peanut sensitization in children aged one to nine years," said lead author, Sandy Yip, M.D. "This may indicate that development of peanut sensitization at a young age is related to affluence, but those developed later in life are not."

The research also found that increased levels of peanut allergies may also be related to sex, age and race. The study looked at 8,306 subjects, 776 of whom had higher levels of allergy antibodies when exposed to peanuts. The results showed that males and racial minorities were more likely to have the allergy the allergy antibody levels were the highest among children and adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19 years old.

Peanut allergy symptoms
Some symptoms of peanut allergies include hives, redness, tightening of the throat, a runny nose and difficulty breathing, according to the Mayo Clinic. The allergy can also cause anaphylaxis, which is when the airway swells up, blood pressure drops due to shock and light headedness or unconsciousness occurs. If someone goes into anaphylactic shock, the source reports that the persons should be stuck with an epinephrine, or adrenaline, injector, which will help increase their heart rate and prevent them from choking to death.

Allergy diagnosis
There are a few ways to diagnose a food allergy, the Mayo Clinic states. One way is to take a blood test, which checks the amount of allergy antibodies in an individual's bloodstream after the allergen is consumed. Another method is a skin prick test, in which a piece of food is pushed below the skin's surface and a bump or other skin irritation will occur if the patient is allergic.

The source also reports that doctors may ask patients to keep a food diary or do an elimination diet, in which patients stop eating certain foods in order to see which ones cause allergic reactions.


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