Peanut allergy has been on the rise over the years as we all read in the media. Many patients are being diagnosed as peanut allergic, but parents do not know how much peanut exposure will elicit a reaction, this is called the minimum eliciting dose (ED). Researchers have tried to determine at what amount will a patient/child develop a reaction.
A modified food challenge protocol was used to assess the ED in children with peanut allergy. The study included 63 children with confirmed peanut allergy, most have reacted in the past with accidental ingestion. The study included 2 hours between each step, with the goal of reflecting real life exposure. Children received 8 steps from 3 mg to 4,500 mg of peanut protein, until a reaction occurred. (THE AVERAGE PEANUT WEIGHS ABOUT 1 GRAM). Severity was graded from 1 to 4.
45 children have symptoms of an allergic reaction after 30 minutes, with most having reactions by 1 hour. And the ED was usually less than 2 mg of peanut protein. The more the allergic the patient to peanut, the lower dose was needed to elicit an allergic reaction.
We are always asked can my child eat something that is cooked in a factory of peanuts? Unfortunately for now we have to say no. Labeling of food products is not optimal and we do not know how much peanut is exactly in these products. The dose can be very small in patients especially those with the highest severity. So for now all children who are allergic to peanuts, should not eat anything that is cooked in a factory of peanuts.