Tree nut Allergy

When consumption of tree nuts results in an inappropriate reaction, it is said to be Tree nut Allergy. Allergies occur when our body immune system mistakes recognizing a certain proteins in the tree nuts as dangerous and it attacks back releasing a chemicals like antibodies and chemicals like histamine in blood. These chemicals can affect different tissues and organs of the body.

Symptoms of Tree nut Allergy

Consumption or exposure to tree nut triggers symptoms similar to almost all food allergies. These symptoms can surface in minutes or hours after consumption or exposure. The symptoms include – itchy hives, swelling, tingling sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, swelling in the throat, breathing difficulties and dizziness. In severe cases, allergic reactions lead to Anaphylactic symptoms like dangerous drop in blood pressure, constriction of the air passageways, unconsciousness etc.

Causes of Tree nut Allergy

Tree nut allergy is triggered when our immune system mistakes recognizing a simple nut protein as an allergen. It is not clear why the immune system does that. There are traces of tree nuts in edibles like marzipan, nut butters, noughat, oils, nutmeat, candies, chocolates, desserts, breads, gravies, pesto, sauces, cakes etc. In some people, exposure to tree nut extracts also results in allergic reactions. Tree nut extracts can be commonly found in common toiletries like shampoos, soaps, conditioners, cosmetic creams, lotions etc.

Diagnosis of Tree nut Allergy

If the symptoms do not give enough clue to the physician, he may conduct a couple of simple tests to confirm the allergy. A simple skin test which involves pricking and scratching of the skin and exposing the scratched area to a tree nut extract will help the physician test if exposure to the substance produces an allergic reaction or not. Another test called RAST or Radioallergosorbent Test will allow the physician to take a small sample of the blood in order to detect the presence of the antibodies in the blood that might have been released by the immune system in the blood.

Treatment of Tree nut Allergy

The treatment of Tree nut Allergy involves the administration of –

  • Antihistamines that relieve the basic allergic symptoms.
  • Topical creams that treat hives and dermatitis.
  • Bronchodilators that help clear the congested bronchial tubes and airways to improve breathing.
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and prevent allergy attacks from recurring.

Prevention of Tree nut Allergy

Prevention is the best cure for all food allergies. Make sure you read the food labels carefully before buying food at the grocery store. You also need to avoid eating food outside home i.e. at eateries and other places in order to avoid accidental consumption of tree nut. If you are dining out, ask the chef if the dish contains any tree nut extract or not. It is also better to avoid all the nuts if you are allergic to one, because certain proteins are common across all forms of nuts.