Food allergies affect many people. Among them, the nut allergy, it is one of the most frequent and can cause in some people very dangerous reactions, even fatal. People who are victims are often in danger because there are nuts in a lot of food products. Let’s see how to recognize the nut allergy and how to protect yourself from it.
Little reminders about nut allergy
- There are between 1.5 and 2% of the population who suffer from nut allergy in Europe.
- This allergy can be diagnosed in children or adults, but it is most often in children that it is confirmed.
- Unlike some other allergies, this one is unlikely to go away over time.
- Nuts and hazelnuts, like peanuts, are foods with high allergenic potential and therefore cause allergies in many people.
- In the most sensitive people, a simple cutaneous contact or a simple inhalation with the allergenic food can kill the allergic person in the most serious cases.
- That said, being allergic to nuts or hazelnuts does not prevent you from eating peanuts (peanuts) and vice versa. But beware, the risk is still present, because the peanut may have crossed the nuts during the phases of its processing and manufacture.
- The most fatal nuts are pecan, walnut, Brazil nut and pistachio.
Foods that fall under the nuts category
Tree nuts and peanuts aren’t the same. If you’re allergic to one, you possibly need to avoid the other. Ask your doctor to be sure.
Behind the generic term nuts, there is the food family. Here are all the foods that make up the nut family and to which you are likely to be allergic:
Tree nuts include:
- The Almonds
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- The gables
NB: Peanuts are also an allergen but are not part of the nut category.
The different names used to speak of nuts are: Cashew nuts; Avelines (hazelnuts); Kernels; Pine nuts; Queensland nuts (macadamia)
Symptoms of nut allergy
An allergic reaction to nuts causes symptoms similar to other food allergies. You may not feel all of these symptoms, you may only experience one or more of them:
- Hot flashes
- Skin problems: hives or itchy skin
- Redness or rash
- Swelling of the eyes
- Respiratory problems: difficulty breathing, rhinitis
- Anxiety or distress
- Weakness or malaise
- A drop in blood pressure,
- An increased heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
The intolerance to nuts is one of the main causes of anaphylactic shock, like peanuts, and can have deadly consequences.
Generally, you will feel the first symptoms very quickly after ingesting the nuts, but the reaction time varies from individual to individual. Be aware that the faster the allergic reaction occurs, the more dangerous and serious the situation becomes.
Detection of nut allergy
If you or your child experiences any of these symptoms after absorbing or being exposed to food in the nut family, it can be detected by an allergist. Most often, it will use skin tests which work very well in all allergic people.
Feeding tips for nut allergy sufferers
The first thing to do is to avoid allergens. So you should remove nuts and other foods from the category you are allergic to from your diet.
In some people, we may consider gradually reintroducing the allergenic food, here nuts and other foods in the category, from a medical protocol, followed closely.
Tips to avoid nuts allergy :
- Read the labels and the list of ingredients. Manufacturers indicate that their products contain Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, etc.
- Check and reread the label of products you used to buy. Manufacturers can change their manufacturing recipes at any time.
- Above all, do not eat foods that have a label stating “may contain nuts or traces of nuts”.
- If you have the slightest doubt that a food may contain nuts, do not eat it, do not take any risks and contact the manufacturer to inform you.
- Avoid products imported from abroad, you never know, the label may not be trusted.
- When eating out, whether at a friend’s house or at a restaurant, always ask if there is nuts in the preparation.
- If you want to make a recipe containing nuts, you can replace it with oatmeal or dried fruit.
Products That y contain nuts (not exhaustive):
- Nut and hazelnut oils.
- Nut Liqueurs
- Nut Cheeses
- Chocolate & Candy
- Ice cream
- industrial pastries
- Sweet and savory cookies
- Breakfast cereals and cereal bars
- Special bread
- Cold meats
- Asian dishes
But food is not the only possible source, it can also be found in non-food products:
- Sun creams
- Pets food
Prevention of food allergies
It would seem that certain rules of conduct would prevent your children from becoming allergic:
- During the breastfeeding period, it is better to avoid eating allergenic products. Especially if one of the parents is allergic.
- Up to 6 months, it is recommended to feed babies only with milk (breast or artificial). We advise you to respect the diversification rules indicated by your doctor or which you will find in your child’s health book.
- Nuts and peanuts are only allowed from 3 years old.
How to manage a food allergy at school?
It is imperative to notify the school, the teacher and the canteen if your child is allergic to nuts. You can thus set up a PAI (individual reception plan).
He will have dishes specially prepared for him in the canteen when a planned meal is prohibited for him because of his food intolerance. The school team and the canteen staff will be informed of the action to be taken in the event of an allergic reaction.
In general, as they grow up, children quickly get used to their allergy and the instructions to follow. They will also recognize the first symptoms.