When a reaction to peanuts occurs, you must always be prepared. Not every reaction escalates to anaphylaxis, but you need to be fully versed in the symptoms of anaphylaxis in case it occurs. See Anaphylaxis.
If you deem the reaction as non-anaphylactic, treat it by using a fast-acting liquid antihistamine immediately and monitor it closely. If your child's reaction is localized, such as only hives at the point of contact or a swollen eye, and you have treated it with an antihistamine you should ensure that the symptoms begin to substantially decrease within 15-20 minutes of the treatment. If there is any increase or no decrease, you will likely need to administer an EpiPen®.
You would be wise to seek medical attention every time a reaction is suspected - even if you feel you have adequately handled the situation.
Approximately 20% of children who had mild reactions before are at risk of full-blown anaphylaxis the next-time.
I had the opportunity to speak with a well-informed physician regarding anaphylatic reactions and mentioned that I had read much information that lead me to believe that one should always use an EpiPen as an antihistamine may mask full-blown anaphylaxis. He felt that in no way is that true - nothing can stop symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction other than epinephrine. Please speak to your family doctor or allergist and get their input on this issue to help you prepare your Emergency Plan.
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