How to Prevent Hazelnut Allergy?
Tree Nut allergies are quite prevalent in the United States. It affects about 1.2% of the population in America. This is an allergy type which is widely prevalent in kids. Tree nuts would include hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pine nuts etc. In this article we are going to focus on Hazelnut allergy, especially how to prevent hazelnut allergy.
Hazel nut (Corylus Avellana) is a nut which comes in a shell. The shell needs to be cracked open to reach to the nut. It is used in candies, chocolates, cookies, cakes, desserts etc. Oil pressed from hazelnuts is also used as a flavoring agent. Individuals allergic to birch pollen and other tree nuts are more prone to experience the discussed allergy.
What happens when one is allergic to Hazelnuts?
It needs to be understood that any allergy is an autoimmune disorder of the body. The immune system perceives an otherwise harmless protein in a nut as its enemy and produces a force of antibodies known as Immunoglobin E (IgE) to combat the protein. These antibodies react and bind with the protein causing the mast cells in the gut, pharynx and skin to release histamine. Histamine is a chemical which causes the adverse physical reactions in the body. Histamine irritates the nerve endings, dilates blood vessels etc. That ought to explain the itchy skin rashes and inflammation experienced in allergies.
How to prevent allergic reactions from Hazelnut?
One can prevent allergic reactions from hazelnut by following these below measures:
- Cooking or roasting the nut can alter the protein and make it less reactive. Thus, you can eat cooked or roasted nuts but in less amounts.
- It is extremely important to read labels as a lot of foods may contain hazelnuts or other tree nuts. In America, The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that any food product having any tree nut as an ingredient must list it clearly on the label. In fact, if the food has been processed in the same facility which is being used to process foods containing tree nuts, the information needs to be published on the label.
- While eating out it will be prudent to look into the list of the ingredients that has gone into the food ordered to prevent the allergy.
Here is some more detailed information on hazelnut allergy which might help you in knowing this allergy. Read on to know the symptoms, treatment and more….
Symptoms of Hazelnut Allergy
Hazelnut allergy symptoms range from any of the usual mild to severe food allergy symptoms which occur within two hours of consumption. Symptoms include:
- Hives and skin rashes.
- Atopic Dermatitis.
- Allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
- Angioedema or the swelling of the lips, face and mouth.
- Inflammation of the airways could cause breathing difficulties.
- The protein may not be destroyed by the gastric juices when ingested and can manifest symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea, vomiting, severe indigestion etc.
- In an extreme condition, a severe reaction which involves shortness of breath, confusion, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness etc could occur. This is known as Anaphylaxis.
- Oral Allergy Syndrome is a condition which is caused by allergies and is limited to the mouth, lips and the oral cavity. It is characterized by an itching, burning and swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue and throat.
An individual allergic to hazelnuts may experience symptoms from other foods which may bear traces of hazelnut. For example some one allergic to birch pollen would also be allergic to bananas, cherries, almonds, hazelnuts, apples etc. This is because the hazelnut pollen is structurally similar to the birch pollen. The cross reactivity between the tree pollens like birch, alder, ragweed etc and the tree nuts is a major reason behind the extent to which these allergies are experienced.
Treatment of hazelnut Allergy
There is no permanent cure for hazelnut allergy. It is advisable to seek a physician’s help as soon as you notice symptoms after consuming hazelnuts. The physician may suggest allergy testing in some cases. This helps in determining the severity of hazelnut allergy and also finding allergic response to other nuts if present.
- This allergy requires complete elimination of the nut from diet.
- The condition can be best treated with antihistamines. Antihistamines help to negate the effect of the excess histamine in the body. They provide quick relief from symptoms like allergic rhinitis, skin rashes, hives etc.
- Decongestants are a good option for treating allergies especially chest congestion. However, they are not meant for long term use.
- Corticosteroids are used to treat allergies. It brings down the histamine mediated inflammation.
- In case of anaphylaxis, an emergency dose of epinephrine needs to be administered.
- The above are treatments of managing the said allergy. The only option available to treat allergies permanently is Allergen Immunotherapy or allergy shots. In this therapy, the sufferer is given small doses of the allergen progressively until the immunlogical tolerance is built up. This is also called desensitization. However, it is essential to conduct the therapy under medical supervision.
This is all about how to prevent hazelnut allergy, the symptoms and treatment.