Nut Allergies and Safety Information

Nut Allergies and What You Need to Know

Tree nut and peanut allergies are among the most common food allergies for both children and adults. These allergies can be very dangerous, especially if care is not taken to avoid the nut or nuts in question. Here are a few things to keep in mind, in the event that you or someone in your family is allergic to nuts.

Symptoms of Nut Allergies

When a person has a nut allergy, their immune systems react to nuts in the same manner as any other harmful substance entering the body. This causes the immune system to release chemicals to protect the body from the so-called threat

One of these chemicals, histamine, is the cause of the allergic reaction the individual experiences. The most common symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, a rash, and hives. However, much more serious symptoms can occur, such as vomiting or difficulty breathing. In the severest of cases, anaphylaxis can occur, meaning that the airway swells and makes breathing very difficult or even impossible.

Testing for Nut Allergies

Because nut allergies can lead to such severe reactions, it’s vital that you identify nut allergies as soon as possible. If you suspect a food allergy of any kind is present in yourself or a loved one, you or they need to see an allergist right away, for testing.

Nut allergies can take the form of a tree nut allergy or a peanut allergy. Peanuts are legumes rather than actual nuts, so being allergic to peanuts does not mean you’ll automatically be allergic to tree nuts.

An allergist may perform a test wherein a tiny bit of multiple allergens are placed on the skin, and then pricked or scratched at the site of each sample. If red, raised spots appear, it means that the person probably has an allergy. But, in the case of a food allergy, doctors may want to do additional testing such as performing a blood test, just to be sure.

Living with Nut Allergies

Once the allergist has determined the type and severity of your nut allergy, they can recommend steps to take to avoid an allergic reaction. The most important thing to do is, of course, to avoid eating nuts, which includes foods that contain nuts.

This isn’t always easy, because some foods that don’t contain nuts as ingredients may still have a trace of nuts in them due to cross-contamination. Food item manufacturers in the United States are required to state on their label if the food contains nuts or is prepared in a facility that also contains nut products.

Always check the labels of your foods for these warnings, as well as the ingredient list. Make sure that anyone who prepares or handles food for you is aware of your allergy so that they can take the precautions necessary to keep any trace of allergens at bay.

These are a few of the things to keep in mind if you are living with a nut allergy. Your allergist will be able to give you more information that specifically pertains to you and your body.

Remember that it’s extremely important to avoid any trace of nuts in your food and to check all food labels carefully for warnings about nuts. If you can avoid coming into contact with allergens, you can avoid having a reaction at all.