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The impact of exercise and sleep deprivation on peanut allergic adults

A new research study published today has found that Sleep deprivation and exercise can make people with peanut allergies more sensitive, each significantly reduce the threshold of reactivity (the amount of peanut needed to trigger a reaction) in people with peanut allergy, putting them at greater risk of a reaction. This research was funded by the Food Standard Agency (FSA) and carried out by the Allergy research team at Adenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. 

The TRACE study is hugely significant, as one in every 100 adults and one in every 50 children, have peanut allergies - the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions. Please refer to the FSA website for a summary of the findings. 

More than 126 peanut allergic individuals took part in the trial. Participants were given a peanut challenge where they were given increasing amounts of peanut flour to eat until they developed an allergic reaction which was treated quickly. This challenge was repeated when they were exercising and when they were sleep-deprived.  

If a peanut allergy is suspected it is important to seek advice from a Healthcare professional. In the first instance, this will usually be your GP and they may arrange for allergy testing to be carried out or refer you to a specialist allergy service for skin prick testing and/or specific IgE blood testing to peanut. These tests help to confirm if food allergy is likely and rule out other possible causes. 

Having a food allergy can be very stressful because of the fear of having an allergic reaction and the need to avoid food allergens can be time consuming and expensive when buying ‘free from’ or alternative foods. Feeling anxious about managing your own or child’s allergy is understandable and patient organisations such as Allergy UK are here to provide support, advice and guidance to those living with, or concerned about, allergy. Our Helpline operates from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. If you want information about your symptoms or advice about your condition, call us on 01322 619898.

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