Tree Nuts Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, Prognosis

What is Tree Nuts Allergy?

Allergies are conditions that bring discomfort to their victims in various ways. On interaction with the allergens, or ingestion of foods containing allergenic compounds, the body might react in very many different ways. Some people develop rashes on the skin while others are attacked by stomach disorders leading to diarrhoea or vomiting depending on the type of allergy and food consumed. Tree nuts allergy is just an example of this type of condition. It has prevalence in adults and children with due respect and has adverse effects on its victims that can lead to demise if not controlled in time. Tree nuts allergy is very different from peanut allergy although many people will confuse the two which might lead to one administering wrong treatment and preventive measures. Peanuts are legumes, but in this case, we are talking of tree nuts which are hard-shelled fruits and seeds.

What is Tree Nuts Allergy?

Causes of Tree Nuts Allergy

Tree nuts allergy is basically an overreaction in immune senses caused by an interaction of the victims body with nutty fruits and seed. It classified under food allergy. Remember to differentiate the tree nut allergy with the peanut allergy since the peanuts are basically legumes while tree nuts are fruits and seeds. The tree nut allergy is therefore a hypersensitivity to dietary substances which include cashews, chestnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, shea nuts among other unnamed examples.

Tree nuts allergy is a condition which is not restricted to one kind of nuts, victims may be allergic to a string of fruits or all of them but in some cases just one kind of nut. Different patients have different attack intensity, patients with anaphylaxis has a severe and immediate mast cell reactions and thus are advised to avoid all sorts of nuts There are other unpredictable sources of tree nuts allergens such black wall nut hulls that are mostly used as food flavour additives, natural nut extracts, walnut hull extracts, nut oils nut distillates among others.

Signs and Symptoms of Tree Nuts Allergy

There are various symptoms and signs associated with tree nuts allergy. First and for most, patient might have difficulty in swallowing. It mainly coursed by the reaction of the nuts oil and protein on the lining of the throat. This might be followed by itching of the mouth, or sometimes the itching comes first as a symptom. The itching can as well extend to eyes, skin and any other arrears. Nasal congestion and running nose in some patients can be indicated and patients might even get nausea. Other common symptoms to tree nuts allergy include vomiting, nausea, cramps and abdominal pains. This symptom is associated with consumption of oils and food with oils from nutty foods. Diarrhea is also another symptom that is very serious since it can degenerate into dehydration of the body due to excessive loss of water.

Risk Factors for Tree Nuts Allergy

There are a few factors of risk for tree nuts allergy. Tree nuts allergy is triggered by consumption of tree nuts and or tree nuts products that contain or rather include nut oils and butters. Food flavouring’s such as black walnut extract, natural extracts, nut distillates and alcoholic extracts walnut hull extracts and nut oils are some risky food additives that one should be cautious about. There are other unexpected sources include tree nut proteins such as crackers, cookies, cereals, candy, flavoured coffee chocolates and flavoured deserts. Alcoholic beverages should also be avoid since they contain allergen that are not regulated. Apart from these unexpected sources that pose high risk to patients, the patient should be on the lookout for the symptoms in order to induce treatment measures.

Complications of Tree Nuts Allergy

The complications associated with this tree nut allergy are mostly the symptoms that are visible to the patient. This include diarrhoea which comes due to stomach upsets and can lead to dehydration of the body due to high loss if water through running stomach. Tree nuts allergy can also cause severe rashes that are itchy on the skin, mouth throat and other parts of the body. This itchiness if prolonged, can cause serious skin infections if the patient will keep on scratching his skin to relieve the itchiness. Nausea is also another complication associated with tree nuts allergy. Nausea can lead to collapse of the patient and loss of consciousness to the victim. Another complication that can be as a result of tree nut allergy is the congestion of the nasal cavity leading to breathing difficulty and running nose. This is an irritating discomfort that can culminate into long term headache if not checked at initial stages.

Tests to Diagnose Tree Nuts Allergy

There are two methods of testing for tree nuts allergy in a patient. One of them is the oral food challenge. This is not always recommended since it can lead to serious allergic reaction considering the manner in which the testing is done. In this test, the patient is given rations of foods containing allergen in an increasing ration fashion and observations done. Depending on the patients reaction, it is determined whether he or she is allergic to tree nuts allergy or not. This test is highly discouraged by medics.

The other method is known as the skin prick test for diagnosing tree nuts allergy. In this test, a drop of glycerinated medium containing allergen extract is placed on the skin. The patient is then pricked through the droplet, and observation done. The experiment is repeated multiple times with the use of two different mediums, one with a histermine that is designed to enhance the allergic response and the other of saline nature that exhibits no allergic response. If the outcome is a difference of 3mm in diameter of the saline and histermine disc, then the patient is experiencing the tree nuts allergy. This test is 50% accurate. Although it is the most recommended, the test has not been fully approved since it is still under study.

Treatment for Tree Nuts Allergy

There is only one sure way of treating tree nuts allergies, avoid eating tree nuts and fruits of foods derived from the same. This is more of a prevention measure rather than treatment but it is the most advisable and freely available means. In some cases, doctors have injected their patients with epinephrine to the anaphylaxis sufferers but this is not 100% effective. Children who have the tree nuts allergy have been observed to outgrow the condition in their course of growth but only up 9% of the recorded cases.

Prevention of Tree Nuts Allergy

Allergic reactions like tree nuts allergy can be life threatening if left unattended reaching severe levels. To prevent any miss-happening, it is advisable to avoid any form of tree nuts. Food flavours, alcoholic beverages, chocolates nuts oils should be avoided at all cost. In its place, the patient should be advised to eat substitutes of tree nuts which are specially made avoiding the allergens. These alternatives include sunflower seed butter, this can come in handy to those children who attend schools that are served by tree nut diets. Sunflower butter has added advantage in that it has additional vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc that are good for child’s development.

Prognosis/Outlook for Tree Nuts Allergy

Most people with tree nuts allergy are prone to peanut allergies. This entails that one should not only avoid tree nuts but also peanuts and opt to use alternative foods to prevent future attacks. If you have kids with tree nuts allergy, it is very likely that his siblings will have the same. It has been seen in case studies that 9% of patient kids out grow the condition but if they fail, then you should take the relevant measures to help protect your family. In the united states, the Federal food allergen labelling and consumer protection, (FALCPA) insists all ingredients containing allergen to be indicated clearly on the packaging detail. This will help shoppers to identify the risky foods and substitute them as necessary. Such foods includes gianduja, turron, nutella marzipan and baklava and contains high levels of allergens found in tree nuts.

Home Remedies for Tree Nuts Allergy

There are no specific home remedies for tree nuts allergy. It is very important to protect your family at home if you have members who are affected by the tree nuts allergy. To insure this, one should avoid stocking tree nuts and its derivatives such as alcoholic beverages, chocolates and other foods containing the allergens and in their place, purchase the alternative foods. The parent should also stock medications such as epinephrines and prescribed pain relievers. In case the situation gets out of control, then it is advisable to contact emergency services.

Coping with Tree Nuts Allergy

It is very difficult to cope with tree nuts allergy condition. But once you discover the allergens that courses your reaction, then it becomes more easier. In case of tree nuts allergy, just try your best to avoid tree nuts. When gone shopping, you should check keenly on the labelled ingredients to avoid using the tree nuts allergens unknowingly.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Tree Nuts Allergy

Tree nuts allergy is not easy to treat, and that also applies to other allergies since not much is known about the allergies scientifically. Despite this, doctors have developed therapies that can help a patient recover although these are not 100% proved. The patient can be introduced to the allergens gradually as the body develops the immune to fight the condition and with time, the patient will recover completely. In children, it is prove that the kids can outgrow the condition but this is only one in nine kids. To cope with this condition, the patient should understand his health, use the prescribed medicine and avoid the tree nuts and fruits.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 5, 2022

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