March is National Peanut Butter Month, which means those of us who can enjoy the delights of the creamy and chunky spread will be relishing in salty peanut-infused recipes. Sadly, an increasing number of children have allergies to peanuts or nuts that can be incredibly dangerous and even life threatening. In fact, 50 percent of lilsugar readers say their children attend "peanut free schools." Many pediatricians recommend that parents wait until children are 3 or 4-years-old to feed them peanuts and peanut butter, or that you consider giving your child their first taste of peanut butter in their waiting room. The tales of peanut allergies can be staggering, so it's crucial to take precautions and get your child tested so you can stop wondering.
If you want to rest easy, talk to your doctor about setting you up with an appointment with an allergist. The Mayo Clinic suggests one or both of the following tests:
Skin prick test: With this test, your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of the proteins found in peanuts to see if you have a skin response. If you're allergic, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the test location on your skin. Allergy specialists usually are best equipped to perform allergy skin tests.
Blood test: A blood test (sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test, or RAST) can measure your immune system's response to peanuts by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to peanuts.