Nut Allergy Basics

Nut allergies are among the most common food allergies. You may be allergic to tree nuts (cashews, pistachios, pecans, almonds) or to peanuts. Note, however, that peanuts are not actual nuts. They are legumes that grow in the ground. Nevertheless, their chemical make-up is similar to that of tree nuts. For that reason, many people are allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts.

Nut Allergy

Nuts are harmless enough. The problem is your body’s perception of those nuts. With an allergic reaction, the body mistakes the proteins in nuts for “invading enemies” and releases chemicals to fight them off. Those chemicals lead to an allergic reaction accompanied by a range of different allergy symptoms including the following:

• Nausea
• Facial swelling
• Tingling in the mouth
• Abdominal spasms
• Throat tightness and/or swelling
• Rashes
• Labored breathing
• Low blood pressure and dizziness

Most reactions are on the mild side and only last for an hour or two. However, some of these symptoms are a manifestation of anaphylaxis that may require medical attention to prevent loss of consciousness or, in extreme cases, even death.

Your first line of defense against a nut allergy is to avoid foods with nuts or nut byproducts. When shopping for groceries, read product labels to avoid foods that contain nuts or were manufactured with other nut products. Likewise, when eating out at a restaurant, look for menu notes that indicate that a meal may contain nuts.

Click here to learn more about nut allergy treatment and further details on symptoms. You may also consider nut allergy treatment through allergy drops. Studies have shown sublingual immunotherapy drops to safely reduce even deadly peanut allergies. Your allergy doctor can provide you with more information about prescribing oral allergy drops to help minimize your or your child’s nut allergies.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.