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.