How Are Severe Allergic Reactions Treated
Currently there is no cure for food allergies. The only option for managing the risk is to completely avoid the specific allergen. Appropriate emergency treatment for anaphylaxis includes an injection of epinephrine, which is available in an auto-injector device. Epinephrine is the only medication that can stop an allergic reaction from progressing and must be administered as soon as symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Antihistamines, if used, should be given AFTER epinephrine has been administered. The injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. If your allergist has diagnosed you with a food allergy and prescribed epinephrine, carry it with you all the time and know how to use it. Follow the advice of your allergist on how to use an auto-injector device.
Is Coconut A Tree Nut Are Coconut Food Products Safe For Nut Allergies
Years ago, a parent named Sam emailed to ask if coconut is a tree nut, and if coconut non-dairy foods should be avoided with a tree nut allergic child.
We recently found out our son has multiple food allergies, including tree nuts and dairy. A lot of the coconut products say contains tree nuts. Are these products safe for our son, or should we avoid them?
I shared a complete response at the time. But today Im updating this post with even more helpful information thats easier to follow.
Sesame And Coconut Sensitization Among Peanut And Tree Nut Sensitized Children
The proportion of sesame sensitization was 53.3% among peanut sensitive children, 57.7% among tree nut sensitive children, and 68.9% among those sensitized to both peanuts and tree nuts. Sensitization to sesame was more likely in children with positive SPT to peanuts and tree nuts . Further, children sensitized to both peanuts and tree nuts were more likely to be sensitized to sesame . There was no significant association between sensitization to peanuts or tree nuts and coconut .
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What Are The Symptoms
Nut allergy symptoms usually develop rapidly after a person eats or has exposure to nuts.
Symptoms can range from a mild runny nose to the life threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis, which include throat swelling, shortness of breath, and shock.
The same person can have different nut allergy symptoms at different points in time.
People with a nut allergy may experience the following symptoms after exposure to some or all types of nut:
- difficulty swallowing
- feeling faint
Anaphylaxis can be fatal without prompt treatment. People with severe nut allergy symptoms should speak with a healthcare professional about getting a prescription for an EpiPen an auto-injector with epinephrine. This device will give them ready access to the treatment that they need.
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Is Coconut A Tree Nut
Theres a lot of confusion around the difference between peanuts and tree nuts. They may look similar, but theyre very different! Peanuts are legumes and, you guessed it, tree nuts are hard-shelled nuts that grow on trees. We cover this topic in a previous blog post!
Theres also a lot of confusion around the almighty coconut . Its pretty tricky to classifyits sweet and eats like a fruit, but it has a hard outer shell that needs to be cracked open like a nut. It also has the word nut in it.
Sois it a nut? A fruit? A seed? Can you be allergic? Read on to find out!
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Emergency Treatment For Severe Allergic Reactions
If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction , carry an adrenaline injector such as EpiPen® or Anapen® and a mobile telephone.
If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction, make sure you:
- Have an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.
- Carry an adrenaline injector to treat a severe allergic reaction.
- Consider wearing medical identification jewellery this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency.
- Avoid medication that may increase the severity of allergic reaction or complicate its treatment such as beta blockers.
- Avoid the food that causes your allergic reaction.
- Tell food staff about your allergy when eating out.
- Seek medical advice from a doctor or clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
Should People With Tree Nut Allergy Avoid Coconut
Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cashew nuts and pistachios. People who are allergic to tree nuts sometimes ask us if they are likely to react to coconut because of the name. Foods that are close biological relatives often share similar proteins, which can lead to a process called cross-reactivity where a person allergic to one food also reacts to another. But the coconut is a member of the palm family and only distantly related to tree nuts. The botanical distance between coconuts and tree nuts would suggest that people with tree nut allergy should be able to tolerate coconut and studies have shown that this is generally true. Therefore, there is no general recommendation that patients with tree nut allergy should avoid coconut.
Rare exceptions have been reported in scientific research papers. Two people allergic to walnuts were found to react to coconuts due to a cross-reacting protein. Another person who was allergic to coconut suffered symptoms of oral allergy to several tree nuts. A cross-reacting protein found in both coconut and hazelnut was identified as the cause.
If you have been told you are allergic to coconut but are unsure if a separate coconut allergy test has been carried out, or if you are allergic to one or more tree nuts and dont know if you are allergic to coconut, we would advise you to ask your GP to arrange for a coconut allergy test.
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Keep A Record Of Nut Allergy Symptoms
Diagnosing an allergy can be difficult. If you think you or a child in your care might have an allergy, keeping a record of symptoms can help you and your doctor to understand what is causing them. Keep a diary that describes the symptoms, and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether the symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
What Are Peanut And Tree Nut Allergies
Peanuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods, and they often find their way into things you wouldn’t expect. Take chili, for example: It may be thickened with ground peanuts.
Peanuts aren’t actually a true nut they’re a legume . But the proteins in peanuts are similar in structure to those in tree nuts. For this reason, people who are allergic to peanuts can also be allergic to tree nuts, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, and cashews.
Sometimes people outgrow some food allergies over time , but peanut and tree nut allergies are lifelong in many people.
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Symptoms Of Nut Allergies
Each persons immune system is different and peanut, tree nut and seed allergies can cause diverse signs and symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Many food allergies do not cause severe symptoms, but they can be life threatening in some people and should be taken seriously.Some people have negative or adverse reactions to food that are not caused by allergies. These can be caused by factors such as food poisoning, toxic reactions or food sensitivities . Although these are not allergic reactions, they are often mistaken for allergies. Mild allergic symptoms that can occur before a severe allergic reaction include:
- raised red bumps on the skin hives
- swelling of the lips
- tingling of the throat and mouth
- itchy skin and rash
- tightening of the throat
- digestive symptoms cramps, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.
If you, or someone in your care, have experienced any of these symptoms after eating peanuts, tree nuts or seeds, the risk of having a severe reaction after eating that food may be greater than usual. Ask your doctor to refer you to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
Coconut Is A Useful Food
The coconut palm tree is a native of the tropics. The fruit of the palm is known as the coconut. The coconut has great economic value, as the outer fibrous husk can be used to make ropes and mats, the white inner flesh can be eaten, and the milk can be drunk. Coconut derived products are also added to:
- Many foods including cakes, chocolates and sweets.
- Some infant formulae.
- Cosmetics, hair shampoos, moisturisers, soaps, cleansers and hand wash.
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Is Coconut Safe For Kids With Nut Allergy
The most common food allergy among children and adults is one to tree nuts and peanuts. However, children begin to eat other foods before they eat nuts and they grow out of these. Still, only 1/5 of children with nut allergies get over them. This means that four out of five children with nut allergies grow up with these allergies. While with some, these allergies lose their severity, in others it becomes chronic.
Living With Peanut Or Tree Nut Allergy
If allergy skin testing shows that your child has a peanut or tree nut allergy, an will provide guidelines on what to do.
The best way to prevent a reaction is to avoid peanuts and tree nuts. Avoiding these nuts means more than just not eating them. It also means not eating any foods that might contain tree nuts or peanuts as ingredients.
The best way to be sure a food is nut-free is to read the food label. Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state on their labels whether the foods contain peanuts or tree nuts. Check the ingredients list first.
After checking the ingredients list, look on the label for phrases like these:
- “may contain tree nuts”
- “produced on shared equipment with tree nuts or peanuts”
Although these foods might not use nut ingredients, the warnings are there to let people know they might contain traces of nuts. That can happen through “cross-contamination,” when nuts get into a food product because it is made or served in a place that uses nuts in other foods. Manufacturers are not required to list peanuts or tree nuts on the label when there might be accidental cross-contamination, but many do.
Some of the highest-risk foods for people with peanut or tree nut allergy include:
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What Is Coconut Allergy
In rare cases, a person may have an allergic reaction after eating coconut. An allergic reaction happens when your body mistakes a harmless substance for a threat.
Allergic reactions to coconut on the skin, called contact dermatitis, are more common than food allergies to coconut. Because coconut allergy is rare, researchers don’t know if a person with a coconut food allergy can safely use coconut-based skincare products or vice versa. If you have any coconut allergies, ask your doctor before using any products derived from coconut.
Similarly, if you have a tree nut allergy, it is best to consult your doctor before adding coconut to your diet. This is because a few people are allergic to tree nuts and coconut.
Most people with tree nut allergies can safely eat coconut, but talk to your doctor first.
Is Coconut A Nut Allergy
Firstly, let’s debunk a myth by clarifying that coconut is not a nut therefore, it is not a ‘nut’ allergy. In fact, coconut is more correctly called a drupe. This is the name for a fruit with a hard shell that protects the seed inside. However, some botanists disagree.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration says coconut can be classified as a tree nut, a seed, or a fruit. This can be confusing for those with a tree nut allergy, which describes allergies to nuts that grow on trees, including hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, and pistachios. Those with a coconut allergy might expect themselves to react to tree nuts, and vice versa, but it isn’t necessarily the case. Coconut is a member of the palm tree family and is only distantly related to tree nuts.
However, if you have a diagnosed tree nut allergy and you are concerned about whether you can eat coconut, you should discuss this with your GP or allergy specialist for guidance.
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Diagnosis Of Nut Allergies
If you have allergic symptoms, visit your doctor who will ask some questions about your allergic reactions. You can also discuss the diary record of your symptoms.
To diagnose your allergy, your doctor may refer you to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist who can test for allergies using a number of methods, depending on the type of potential allergy. To test for an allergy to peanuts, tree nuts and seeds, the specialist might:
- do a skin prick test
- do a blood test
- ask you to temporarily avoid all nuts or products containing nuts , then follow up with the introduction of nuts back into your diet under strict medical supervision.
Can Someone With A Tree Nut Allergy Eat Coconut
I cant advise whether or not coconut is safe for an individual. Anyone can be allergic to any food protein. But research has shown no correlation between common tree nut allergies and coconut allergy.
In 2010, a study was published in the Journal of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology to characterize the relationship between sesame, coconut, and nut allergies in children. Researchers from the Childrens Hospital of Boston found that children with histories of both peanut and tree nut reaction were more likely to have a history of sesame reaction. But children with a sensitization or allergy to peanuts or tree nuts were not more likely to be sensitive or allergic to coconut.
In other words, the odds that a child with a tree nut allergy also has a coconut allergy are no greater than the odds that a child without a tree nut allergy has a coconut allergy. In fact, many children with tree nut allergies are able to consume coconut-based dairy alternatives without a problem.
This is why its essential to test for coconut allergy specifically. Coconut allergy is considered rare, but it is still very possible to be allergic to coconut. And I have heard some physicians state that theyve seen a rise in coconut allergies, possibly due to the dramatic increase in coconut products.
Check with your physician to find out if coconut is an issue for you. Coconut is on many food allergy test panels, and can be tested for individually.
Does Coconut Cause Itching
“If you are allergic to coconut, it is likely you will experience itching of the skin where it was exposed to coconut products. This is because the coconut allergen causes specialised cells called mast cells, to release the chemical, histamine,” says Dr Fox.
Histamine causes your local blood vessels to dilate, drawing more blood to the area and making your skin look red and feel warm. The nerves in your skin become sensitive, leading to the itching sensation.
While having itchy skin can be incredibly uncomfortable, you should also be wary of scratching it. Doing so can be dangerous, as it might lead to bleeding and/or infection. There’s a chance of you scratching in your sleep so you may need to take measures to prevent this. You can take antihistamines to block histamine release and reduce itching safely and effectively.
Food To Avoid For Coconut Allergy
It can be hard to avoid coconut in foods. You must learn how to read the food labels. Coconut is present in many foods as a derivative. These are substances made from coconut.
Coconut is found in many food products. It is sometimes added for flavor and texture. Foods most likely to contain coconut include:
- Granola bars
- Mixed alcoholic drinks such as piÃ±a coladas
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Diagnosis Of Coconut Allergy
Since a tree nut allergy can cause life-threatening reactions, a reliable diagnosis is required:
- Medical History: The doctor will go through the medical history to know about allergic reactions in the past and also in allergic reactions running in the family.
- Blood tests: Blood tests or skin prick tests will be done to determine the presence of antibody IgE.
- Oral food challenge: If the above tests do not furnish any results, then he may ask you to go for an oral food challenge. The allergic person will be given small amounts of the suspected allergen, and then the doses will be increased for a certain time. This test is done under the strict medical supervision of an allergist so that if any emergency arrives, all medical equipment must be on hand. So, you have to be in the hospital if you are undergoing this test.
- Coconut dermatitis allergy is more common than food allergy: Some products such as cocamide sulphate, coconut diethanolamide, cocamide DEA, CDEA are coconut derivatives products, and these can lead to contact allergic dermatitis. These substances are found in some cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, and hand washes. So, if a person counters any blisters or rashes after a day or two of usage of any products, then he should consult the doctor immediately, and it may take several days to resolve.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Allergic Or Allergic
When someone comes in contact with a food allergen or added sulphites, the symptoms of an allergic or allergic-type reaction may develop quickly and rapidly progress from mild to severe. The most severe form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure or shock, which may result in loss of consciousness and even death. A person experiencing an allergic reaction may have any combination of the following signs or symptoms:
- Skin: hives, swelling , itching, warmth, redness
- Respiratory: coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms , trouble swallowing
- Gastrointestinal: nausea, pain or cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Cardiovascular: paler than normal skin colour/blue skin colour, weak pulse, dizziness or light headedness, loss of consciousness, shock
- Other: anxiety, sense of impending doom, headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste.
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