Peanut butter on a spoon surrounded by peanuts on a table

Peanuts are tasty and popular snacks that are packed with protein. However, some people notice that they cough during and after eating peanuts. While the coughing might be unrelated in some cases, is it possible that peanuts cause a cough? 

Peanuts can cause a cough and temporarily worsen medical conditions, like asthma or bronchitis. If you have a peanut sensitivity, allergy, or an essential fatty acid imbalance, it can also cause coughing. Sore throat or acid reflux sufferers can also experience coughing when eating peanuts. 

In this article, I’ll discuss if peanuts cause coughing. I’ll also explain what to do if peanuts make you cough and how long peanut allergies usually last. 

Can Peanuts Make You Cough? 

Peanuts can make you cough, particularly if you suffer from asthma, bronchitis, acid reflux, or peanut allergies. Peanuts might also cause a cough due to being a choking hazard. Small peanut pieces that get lodged in one’s throat could induce coughing. 

Medical Conditions That Increase the Risk of Coughing

Here are some of the conditions that might induce coughing or amplify the symptoms of an existing peanut sensitivity. 


Peanuts are rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage and irritation in your airways, which is excellent if you have asthma.  

Some people do not realize that they have a nut allergy or intolerance because they experience very mild or no symptoms. 

However, when people living with asthma (with a coexisting peanut sensitivity or allergy) eat peanuts, the soft tissues in the respiratory tract can become irritated and cause them to become inflamed, causing coughing. 

Sore Throat or Bronchitis

According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 1.1% of the US population has a peanut allergy.

If you are sensitive to peanuts but don’t typically experience symptoms when eating them, having a sore throat or bronchitis might amplify allergy symptoms. 

If you have a sore throat or bronchitis, and eating peanuts typically gives you a dry or irritated throat, your symptoms may be more noticeable, and you may cough. 

Acid Reflux

Peanuts contain plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fats, but they also have saturated fat. If you have acid reflux or heartburn, your symptoms could, therefore, get worse after eating peanuts. 

A symptom of acid reflux is coughing. If you cough after eating peanuts, you may be experiencing acid reflux symptoms, especially if you typically eat a large serving. 

Peanut Allergy or Sensitivity

One of the most common causes of coughing during or after eating peanuts is a peanut allergy or sensitivity. 

Peanut allergies and sensitivities usually present as follows: 

  • Scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Tingling mouth and lips
  • Swollen lips and eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightening of the airways
  • Hives and skin redness
  • Anaphylaxis 

If you think you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical care as soon as possible as it could be life-threatening. 

Peanuts Are Potentially a Choking Hazard

Peanuts are tiny, and if you eat them too fast or don’t chew them properly, they can sometimes become lodged in your throat and make you choke. 

When someone is choking, one of their first reactions is to cough to try and get food particles dislodged. 

However, the best way to get the food dislodged during choking is to use the Heimlich Maneuver

What To Do When Peanuts Make You Cough

If you find that peanuts make you cough, here are some considerations to help prevent it in the future:  

  • Eat peanuts with plenty of water. Do you think you are mildly allergic to peanuts or do you currently have a throat infection or bronchitis? Drinking water while eating peanuts may help ease coughing. 
  • Take an antacid. If you suffer from acid reflux and find that peanuts exacerbate the condition, take an antacid before eating peanuts to prevent coughing. 
  • Avoid peanuts and consult the label. Those who experience moderate to severe allergy symptoms when eating peanuts are better off avoiding peanuts and products containing them. 
  • Use the Heimlich Maneuver. If you notice someone coughing while eating peanuts and they appear to be choking, use the Heimlich Maneuver to help them. 

How Long Do Peanut Allergy Symptoms Usually Last?

Do you have a peanut allergy, and have you recently eaten peanuts? If so, you will want to know how long the symptoms usually last. 

Peanut allergy symptoms last between one and two hours after peanut consumption. The first symptoms can appear within five minutes of eating peanuts. Sometimes, a second wave of symptoms can occur, but these are typically milder. 

Can Peanuts Hurt Your Throat?

Peanuts are small nuts, and it’s difficult to imagine them being harmful. But can they hurt your throat? 

Peanuts can hurt your throat if you have bitten them into sharp edges. If you have Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS), your throat can become irritated after eating certain foods, like peanuts. 

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, if you have PFAS, the body recognizes specific food proteins as allergens. It reacts by creating hay fever-like symptoms, such as a scratchy throat. 

After eating peanuts, raw fruit, and vegetables, PFAS sufferers can experience symptoms. 

Can I Suddenly Become Allergic to Peanuts?

Peanut allergy symptoms can be scary and are something to avoid. So, can you suddenly become allergic to peanuts? 

You can suddenly become allergic to peanuts as allergies can emerge at any time in one’s life. However, the good news is that a sudden-onset peanut allergy in an adult is very rare. 

If you’ve never had problems when eating peanuts, but you suddenly experience coughing or an allergic reaction, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

It’s also a good idea to monitor kids by gauging their reactions after eating certain types of foods, such as peanuts. 


Peanuts can make you cough, particularly if you have any of these conditions: 

  • Asthma
  • Throat infection
  • Acid reflux
  • Peanut allergy or sensitivity

If you have asthma or a throat infection and cough after eating peanuts, you may have a mild peanut allergy that’s only becoming apparent because your throat is irritated. 

An allergic reaction to peanuts is a medical emergency, and you should get to a doctor as soon as possible. 

It’s a good idea to learn the Heimlich Maneuver as peanuts are tiny, and you would be able to help anyone choking on one.

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