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A little about TREE NUT allergies

Posted by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM
  • 20 Replies

Overview:

Tree nuts include macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, beechnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts (pignoli or pinon), gingko nuts and hickory nuts. Like peanut and shellfish allergies, a tree nut allergy tends to be severe, and is strongly associated with anaphylaxis. Walnuts and cashews are the two tree nuts that cause the most allergic reactions. At least 90 percent of children diagnosed with tree nut allergies will have them for life.

Cross-Reactivity Among Tree Nuts:

Most people with tree nut allergies are not allergic to all tree nuts. However, there is high cross-reactivity among various families of tree nuts. About 12 percent of people who are allergic to one tree nut are allergic to another tree nut. The strongest probability of cross-reactivity is between walnut and pecan, and between cashew and pistachio; however, many tree nuts have some possibility of cross-reaction between each other. For this reason, people who are allergic to one type of tree nut are generally advised to avoid all tree nuts as a precaution.

Cross-Reactivity Between Tree Nuts and Peanuts:

Peanuts are legumes, and are biologically unrelated to tree nuts. However, there is a high level of allergic cross-reactivity between peanuts and tree nuts, meaning that people with tree nut allergies are at increased risk of developing peanut allergies. If you are diagnosed with a tree nut allergy, your allergist will advise you whether to avoid peanuts as well.

Tree Nut Allergy Symptoms:

The most significant symptom of tree nut allergies is anaphylaxis, a systemic reaction that can cause shock, severe breathing difficulties, and cardiac arrythmia, among other symptoms. Because tree nut allergies are especially likely to cause anaphylaxis, people with tree nut allergies will be prescribed injectible epinephrine (an Epi-Pen or similar medicine) and should always carry it with them.

Other common symptoms of tree nut allergies are skin symptoms (like hives and welts) and asthma.

Coconut and Tree Nut Allergies:

Whether coconut should be considered a tree nut is a matter of some controversy. The FDA mandates that coconut be considered a tree nut for labeling purposes; however, as the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network notes, coconut allergies are exceedingly rare, with fewer than 10 reported cases. A June 2007 study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunologyindicated cross-reactivity between coconuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts in one patient. Your allergist can advise you on the suitability of coconut for your diet.

Foods Commonly Containing Tree Nuts:

Foods always or almost always containing tree nuts include:

  • Nutella
  • Marzipan
  • Pesto (unless specially prepared without pine nuts)
  • Baklava
  • Pralines
  • Nut liqueurs (Frangelico, Amaretto, and Nocello)
  • Nougat
  • TurrĂ³n
  • Gianduja

Foods that commonly contain tree nuts include:

  • Macaroons
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Cereal
  • Fudge
  • Caponata
  • Ice cream
  • Divinity
  • Candy bars
  • Baked goods

As with many common allergens, tree nuts are sometimes found in unlikely and nonintuitive foods, so be sure to read labels on all packaged foods before buying or eating them.

i have to keep up with this stuff because DS is highly allergic to TREE NUTS. But he can eat ice cream, only because by the time it's ice cream the tree nuts properties have changed. 
by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Noni2319
by Chrissy on Aug. 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM
It wouldn't have occurred to me that they were in ice cream. Aside from certain flavors.
SweetLuci
by Luci on Aug. 16, 2013 at 7:38 PM
1 mom liked this

 That must be difficult to deal with.

mikemantha
by Member on Aug. 16, 2013 at 9:21 PM

I never thought of ice cream either except like ones called walnut ice cream or whatever those flavors are. 

Quoting Noni2319:

It wouldn't have occurred to me that they were in ice cream. Aside from certain flavors.


mikemantha
by Member on Aug. 16, 2013 at 9:25 PM

It kind of is sometimes. He has a sesame seed allergy too and it can be tricky. Like sometimes a sesame seed bun he will be fine with and other times he won't be. He's fine with ice cream but Dairy Queen one time must have touched a tree nut before his ice cream and he broke out into hives right away. It starts with his eyes getting itchy and then spreads. Benadryl does the trick for those allergies but his willow tree allergy he has to have an RX to take care of. Not epi pen  severe allergies yet and I hope it doesn't get that bad over time. 

Quoting SweetLuci:

 That must be difficult to deal with.


lalasmama2007
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Good to know.  One of my DD's friends has a tree nut allergy.

Hottmomma607
by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM
TFS
So many nuts! Wow!
mikemantha
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Pass this along if she doesn't know this already. 

Quoting lalasmama2007:

Good to know.  One of my DD's friends has a tree nut allergy.


mikemantha
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I know, I didn't realize there were so many. 

Quoting Hottmomma607:

TFS
So many nuts! Wow!


TigerofMu
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM
Thank you! My son is allergic to peanuts, but he avoids them all.
PoehlerBear1983
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 8:16 PM
my niece is highly allergic to all but two nuts however she avoids them all and my friends son was just diagnosed with a tree nut allergy when he reacted to cashews
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