Peanut allergies are common. A reaction to peanuts can range from minor stomach sensitivity to severe anaphylactic shock. If you suspect that you or a loved one is allergic to peanuts, it is best to consult a doctor for further testing.  

You cannot diagnose a peanut allergy at home. However, there are some tests you can do outside of a doctor’s office to check for a peanut allergy.  These include keeping a food log and elimination diet. 

This article will cover how to start testing for peanut allergies at home, medical allergy tests, peanut allergy symptoms, the causes and treatments for peanut allergies, how to introduce peanuts to infants, and tips for living with a peanut allergy. 

Initial at Home Allergy Tests

Peanut allergies can range from minor to severe. If you have not had an extreme allergic reaction to peanuts previously, you can try keeping a food log or practicing an elimination diet before contacting an allergist. 

Food Log

Take note of what you are eating throughout the day and any symptoms accompanying certain foods. Be sure to give detailed descriptions of symptoms, such as when they occurred relative to eating, how long they lasted, and how you relieved them. 

Elimination Diet

Elimination diets are frequently recommended by doctors when the cause of an allergy is unknown. Remove any foods or ingredients that you suspect are contributing to your symptoms, and see if they lessen or disappear. 

In the case of peanuts, eliminate all peanuts and foods that have been in contact with them. 

Because elimination diets do not require you to aggravate your symptoms, they are safe to try without a doctor’s recommendation. 

Medical Allergy Tests

If you still suspect a peanut allergy after keeping a food log and practicing an elimination diet, it is time to consult a doctor or allergist.

There are three main types of tests used to diagnose a peanut allergy: skin test, blood test, and oral food challenge. 

Skin Test

For a skin test, your doctor will place a small amount of the suspected allergen on your skin and make a light incision. If your skin swells, becomes red, or itches, you are allergic. This test allows your doctor to check for over 50 allergens simultaneously. 

Blood Test

Blood tests take a little longer than skin tests, but they tend to be less invasive. Your doctor will take a blood sample, mix it with the allergen, and send it to the lab for testing. The lab determines how your immune system reacts to the allergen. 

Oral Food Challenge

Neither skin nor blood tests accurately describe how severe your reaction will be. Oral food challenges are an excellent method for determining if you are allergic and how acute your symptoms are. However, they can be dangerous. 

In an oral food challenge, you consume increasing amounts of the allergen. A medical team and allergist supervise you with emergency equipment on hand. 

What Are the Main Peanut Allergy Symptoms?

The signs of peanut allergies range, from shaky, nervous feelings to anaphylactic shock, a reaction that either prevents you from or makes it difficult to breathe. 

Some common symptoms include:

  • Hives
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swelling
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Eye irritation
  • Loss of consciousness 

If you experience any of these reactions, call a doctor immediately. 

What Causes Peanut Allergies?

The official cause of peanut allergies is unknown. If you are allergic, it is because your immune system sees peanuts as a threat and reacts negatively. Peanut allergies tend to be genetic, but that is not the case for everyone. 

Recent studies demonstrate that a late introduction of peanuts could relate to allergic reactions. Children should be given peanuts in infancy to help prevent or lessen allergies.

How To Introduce Peanuts to an Infant

Always speak with your baby’s pediatrician before introducing peanuts. Their recommendation will depend on your family history and your infant’s medical history.

For the first introduction, set aside at least two hours to watch your infant closely. Peanut butter is a preferred method to present this allergen. After the first bite, wait approximately ten minutes before giving your baby another taste to ensure no immediate reaction. 

As long as your infant does not have any symptoms within two hours of consuming, you should continue to give your baby peanuts a few times a week to allow the immune system to get used to the allergen.  

Can Peanut Allergies Be Cured?

There is no medical cure for peanut allergies, but some people outgrow them over time. Some treatments can help lessen the severity of a reaction. However, if you are allergic, you need to avoid peanuts as much as possible. 

One treatment is oral immunotherapy. A person who is allergic or at risk of being allergic is introduced to the allergen slowly. The goal is for the immune system to lower its reaction over time. Oral immunotherapy will not eliminate the allergy, only reduce its severity. 

The most reliable treatment is to avoid peanuts and products associated with them. And always have your epinephrine pen (EpiPen) on hand for extreme reactions. For minor allergy symptoms, use antihistamines or corticosteroids. 

Tips for Living with a Peanut Allergy

Living with a peanut allergy can seem daunting at first, but it will quickly become a regular part of life if you follow these tips. 

  • Always carry your EpiPen, and make sure it is up to date.
  • Have antihistamines on hand for minor reactions.
  • Avoid peanuts and peanut products.
  • Check food labels for anything that says “may contain peanuts” or “made in a factory with peanut products.”
  • When eating out, ask if the food has been contaminated by peanuts or cooked in peanut oil.
  • If you suspect you are allergic to peanuts, you should always consult your doctor for further recommendations. 
  • In the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek immediate medical treatment. 


Only your doctor or an allergist can confidently diagnose you with an allergy.

You can test for a peanut allergy by introducing peanuts into your diet. If you suspect you are allergic but have not had a severe reaction, you can keep a food log or try an elimination diet to support or rule out your concerns.

There is no cure for peanut allergies. However, oral immunotherapy or introducing peanut butter at a young age can reduce symptoms. 

Once diagnosed with a peanut allergy, it is crucial to keep your EpiPen and antihistamines on hand in case of a reaction.

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