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Charles Schulz launched the "Peanuts" cartoon on Oct. 2, 1950, in seven newspapers. Eventually it appeared daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries. The funny and often poignant responses of Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts characters resonated with adults, not just kids.

According to a Northwestern University survey published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, peanuts can do that. Researchers have discovered that more adults than kids have a peanut allergy! In fact, 4.5 million Americans over the age of 17 have the condition — and many developed it as grown-ups. Sadly, they are sidelined when it comes to management of the condition.

While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved an allergy therapy (Palforzia) for children 4 to 17, there are no therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration for adult-onset food allergy. That leaves many of the approximately 900,000 adults who end up in the ER every year with a reaction to peanuts without all the help they need. According to the study, too many folks 17 and older are not receiving essential counseling and a prescription for life-saving emergency epinephrine. Compounding the problem: Two-thirds of adults with peanut allergy have at least one other food allergy, often to tree nuts or shellfish.

If you suspect you have a peanut allergy, see a doctor pronto for a diagnosis and treatment. If you are diagnosed but don't carry an EpiPen (injectable epinephrine) to counter an allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock), start doing it now — all the time, everywhere. And check out foodallergy.org for more info on adult food allergies.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit sharecare.com.

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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