What is Almond Allergy?
Almonds belong to the family of Rosacea (apricot, peach and apple). However, almonds are classified under tree nuts. Almonds are listed among the top 8 food allergens by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hence, it is important for those with tree nut allergies to completely avoid eating almonds.
Almond allergy is caused when our body mistakenly identifies certain proteins in almonds as harmful and reacts to it, resulting in various allergic symptoms. People with almond allergies can be allergic to other nuts such as peanut, walnut, cashewnut and hence should be careful. This article discusses about almond allergy in brief.
Sources of Almonds
Almonds are available in various forms such as whole, paste or chopped. They are used in bakeries for products such as cakes, cookies and pies. Some of the forms in which almond is available are:
• Almond paste
• Almond butter
• Almond cream
• Almond extract
The FDA requires food manufacturers to list almonds as allergens on packaged food products. Hence, it is important to read labels to avoid almond allergy.
Symptoms of Almond Allergy
Symptoms may range from mild to severe and can also be life threatening. Some people may experience minor reactions on the skin while some may experience severe condition such as Anaphylaxis.
In minor cases, one may experience oral symptoms such as itchy tongue and mouth. Other most common symptoms of almond allergy include:
• Abdominal cramp
• Allergic asthma
• Shortness of breath
• Nasal congestion
• Watery nose and eyes
• Repeated sneezing
• Allergic shiners
• Swelling of mouth and lips
• Flushing and redness
• Hives and itching all over the body
Anaphylaxis is another sign of almond allergy. This is a life threatening condition of any allergic reaction. In some rare cases, symptoms of this allergy unexpectedly result in anaphylaxis in a few people who are very sensitive. This is a serious allergic reaction and also a life threatening condition.
Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include:
• Numbness in many limbs
• Feeling of lightheadedness and dizziness
• Drop in the levels of blood pressure
• Rapid heartbeat
• Swelling of the airways to the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing
Almond allergy symptoms are very dangerous and thus needs immediate medical attention. If the symptoms are neglected, it may result in the death of a person also.
Managing Almond Allergy
To determine if you have almond allergy, you can undergo allergy tests. The only way to manage almond allergy is to avoid them completely in all forms. Reading the labels of the food products, asking about the ingredients while eating out and making sure there is no cross-contamination in the food are some of the ways to prevent almond allergy. It is also important to always carry a self-injectable epinephrine to manage anaphylactic reaction.
Diagnosis of Almond Allergy
Skin tests are considered to be the best method to detect almond allergy. In vitro tests are also sensitive. Oral challenge tests are not performed regularly due to the harshness of the allergic reactions caused by tree nuts.
Avoidance of Almond Allergy
Almonds may be present in commercial food preparations such as curry. These need to be avoided. Other tree nuts such as Brazil nuts and hazelnuts should also be avoided by almond-allergic patients.
Effects of Almond Allergy
Allergic reaction to almonds starts with a tingling feeling in the mouth. This may be followed by diarrhea or abdominal cramps. To deal with any allergic reaction, the patient should take Claritin or Benadryl. If the reaction escalates to wheezing, swelling of tongue or shortness of breath, take an epinephrine shot and call 911.
This is a brief note on almond allergy. To know even about almond allergy in babies, read our other article on Almond Allergy in Babies