Almost 2 million Americans are allergic to tree nuts
According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), it is estimated that 1.8 million people in the United States are allergic to tree nuts. Peanuts are often thought of as nuts, but they are actually legumes that grow in the ground. A nut allergy can have many of the same symptoms as those of a peanut allergy.
Tree nut allergies are common
Tree nut allergies are one of the most common food allergies, according to the Food Allergy Initiative. Even a very small amount of a tree nut can cause a severe allergic reaction similar to peanut allergy reactions.
Most allergic people are allergic to more than one tree nut
According to the Food Allergy Initiative, if a person has a tree nut allergy, there is a good chance that he or she is allergic to other tree nuts as well. These could be almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts or hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts.
Symptoms of tree nut allergies
Tree nut allergies can affect a person who is allergic to nuts quickly, so immediate medical care must be given if any of the severe symptoms develop. One of these can be difficulty breathing, including shortness of breath and wheezing, which happens only minutes after eating foods that contain nuts. Hives that develop over the body are another serious sign if they happen after eating nuts. They usually itch and cause great discomfort. Itching around the mouth, lips, or tongue is another serious sign that should not be ignored.
Anaphylaxis can occur after eating tree nuts
Tree nuts are one of the foods that can cause the life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The person may develop a rapid heartbeat, feel dizzy and weak, and may develop a swollen throat. It is important to call 911 or get the person to an emergency room immediately if this happens.
Anyone who has had a serious reaction to nuts will need to avoid them
Tree nuts are common ingredients in many foods. They are often in such small pieces that it is difficult to see them, but an allergic person can have a reaction from small bits of this food. Tree nuts are often found in cereals and granola, salad dressings, candy, cookies, bakery goods, breads, ice cream, and others.
An allergist can help you deal with your tree nut allergy
If you have had a serious reaction to tree nuts, you will also need to visit an allergist, a doctor who specializes in treating allergies. This medical professional will prescribe an auto-injector of epinephrine or adrenaline that you can use if you accidentally eat a food with nuts. This will help you avoid anaphylaxis, but you should still go to an emergency room for follow-up treatment.