My Allergy To Chestnuts And How It Started
I have always been allergic to peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts and other nuts but Id never knowingly eaten chestnuts, so how do you know if you might react?
What I did was get some allergy tests done at my allergy hospital, which came back negative. This isnt necessarily a green light to say youre never going to be allergic though, as I found out to my cost, and its interesting to observe how it became an allergy.
I dont seem to come across chestnuts in ingredients lists that much in my everyday life, but once I thought they would be OK I did some careful testing. I used to to to this cafe in Chesham called The Perfect Retreat, which is sadly no longer open, and they made lots of lovely freefrom cakes using chestnut flour. I asked to try a tiny bit and nothing happened. I first put a bit on my lip and waited. Then took a tiny bite, and still nothing. My nut allergies are immediate, fast moving and devastating so this clearly seemed to indicate I wasnt allergic to chestnuts.
The same cafe ran a cookery class to learn how to make the amazing cake you see above, so I booked onto that and learnt so much. Looking at that photo I can still taste the cake, it was so good. Well anyway, to cut a long story short, I took the cake home and we slowly polished it off with no allergic reactions.
However and ironically, on the day I ate the last slice it all went wrong.
Suffice to say I am now allergic to chestnuts but it took a whole ass massive cake to get me sensitised and allergic.
How To Read A Label For Tree Nuts
Always read the entire ingredient label to look for the names of the tree nut you need to avoid. Tree nut ingredients may be within the list of the ingredients. Or tree nuts could be listed in a contains statement beneath the list of ingredients. Examples are “contains walnut” or “contains almond.” This is required by the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act . Learn more about the U.S. food allergen labeling law.
FALCPA requires that all packaged foods regulated by the FDA must list the common names of tree nuts clearly on the ingredient label if it contains tree nuts. Advisory statements such as may contain hazelnuts or made in a facility with tree nuts are voluntary. Advisory statements are not required by any federal labeling law. Discuss with your doctor if you may eat products with these labels or if you should avoid them.
Did you know that marzipan, mortadella, and mandelonas all contain tree nuts? The FDA food allergen label law requires foods to state if they contain a major allergen such as tree nuts. But, there are many foods and products that are not covered by the law, so it is still important to know how to read a label for tree nut ingredients. Products exempt from plain English labeling rules: Foods that are not regulated by the FDA. Cosmetics and personal care items. Prescription and over-the-counter medications. Toys, crafts, and pet food.
CONTAIN TREE NUTS
COMMON TREE NUT NAMES
Get Allergy Tested At Northeast Allergy
With the help of an allergist, your symptoms can usually be minimized or prevented with major improvement in quality of life. The first thing an allergist will want to do is perform tests to determine what allergens are involved. Once your allergist has a deeper understanding of which allergens are causing your symptoms, they will develop an individualized treatment plan for your condition with the goal of minimizing your symptoms.
At Northeast Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, we can discover hidden allergens and provide additional treatments, including immunotherapy, to help you feel your best. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
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Tree Nut Allergy Diet Guide
Verywell / Zorica Lakonic
Tree nuts are a common food allergy: in the United States, about 0.5% of the populationor about one in every 200 peopleis allergic to tree nuts. Tree nuts frequently cause strong allergic reactions and may cause anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
It’s possible to be allergic to just one type of tree nut, but many people are allergic to multiple different types of tree nuts. In addition, it’s common for food manufacturers to process different types of tree nuts on the same equipment, raising risks for people who are allergic. Therefore, if you have a tree nut allergy, your healthcare provider may warn you to avoid most or all tree nuts.
Symptoms Of A Tree Nut Allergy
The symptoms of a tree nut allergy can be difficult to spot since theyre very similar to those you would see with other types of allergies. If someone has a tree nut allergy, they might start to notice it when they eat anything containing nuts or foods that touch nuts, for example, peanut butter on bread, mayonnaise on sandwiches, or salads with walnuts.
The most common symptoms of a tree nut allergy include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, skin, or other areas
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Tree Nut Allergy Trends
Tree nut allergies are one of the 8 most common food allergies. When all the different types of tree nut allergies are counted together, tree nut allergies are estimated to affect around 1% of the general population.
According to FARE, the six most common tree nut allergies are allergies to walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan, cashew and pistachio.
Tree nut allergies are usually lifelong. Most children dont outgrow their tree nut allergy as they get older. FARE reports that only around 9% of children outgrow their tree nut allergy.
Pine Nut Allergy Test
Common names: Pine nut, Pignoles, Pinon nut, Pignola, Pinyon nut, Pine kernels
Pine nut is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Pine Nut Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Pine nuts come from within the cones produced by the numerous varieties of pine tree, and can be found in abundance in south-western North America, but also in similar climates elsewhere, most notably the Mediterranean.
They are obtained from the pine cone by heating it, which then yields several small, high-fat, high-protein, ivory-coloured nuts. They must subsequently be removed from their individual shells before use, a delicate and time consuming process which contributes to the expense of this foodstuff.
Several varieties exist, including the Italian or Mediterranean and the Chinese.
Pine nuts are often sold as a health product. They are used raw and intact, ground up, and for oil. They are popular as a snack, in salads, and in sweet and savoury local dishes, especially the pesto and as a seasoning in the cuisine of the Mediterranean area of Spain.
Pine Nut Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in pine nut have yet been characterised, although a number of proteins have been isolated. An important allergenic band has also been reported.
Pine Nut Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
However, the allergens were not studied in this case, and among individuals who had experienced anaphylactic reactions to pine nut, none were pine tree pollen-allergic.
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Causes Of Pine Nut Allergy
The proteins found in pine nuts act as allergens. Studies are going on to figure out the major allergen in pine nuts due to which several components have been isolated which were found to be allergenic in different people and such components are being evaluated. The immune system fails to recognize the proteins as harmless and renders them as harmful pathogens as a result of which it triggers the production of antibodies. During the next attack, the antibodies engulf the pathogens and signal the immune system to trigger the production of histamines and other chemicals that initiate allergic response in the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tree Nut Allergy
If youre allergic to tree nuts and exposed to them, you may develop symptoms of an allergic reaction. In some cases, these symptoms will appear within minutes and be severe. In other cases, it may take 30 minutes to a few hours before symptoms begin.
Symptoms of a tree nut allergy may include:
- abdominal pain, including cramping and upset stomach
- itching of the mouth, throat, skin, eyes, hands, or other body regions
- shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Anaphylaxis is rare, but its the most severe form of allergic response. In the case of anaphylaxis, a person with an allergy will typically begin experiencing symptoms within 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to the tree nut. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- swollen throat
- a red rash with hives or welts
Peanut, shellfish, and tree nut allergies are among the most common causes of anaphylaxis. People with a severe tree nut allergy should always be prepared to respond to an allergic reaction. You should always keep an epinephrine auto-injector with you. Common brands of auto-injectors include EpiPen, Adrenaclick, and Auvi-Q.
Its important to know the risk factors associated with tree nut allergies. Here are some common risk factors.
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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.
Allergy To Both Tree Nuts And Peanuts
Peanuts are legumes and are biologically unrelated to tree nuts. Tree nut allergy and peanut allergy are two different types of allergies. Still, while people allergic to tree nuts are not necessarily allergic to peanuts, it’s also possible be allergic to both.
You should be aware that tree nuts and peanuts are often found together in processed foods and nut mixtures. If you are diagnosed with a tree nut allergy, your allergist will advise you whether to avoid peanuts, as well.
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Allergies And The Immune System
When someone is allergic to nuts, their immune system mistakenly identifies nuts as a harmful substance. The immune system reacts to these substances, or allergens. The first time someone is exposed to a nut allergen, they usually dont have any symptoms. Their immune system, however, has recognized the allergen as a threat and gets ready to fight the allergen the next time it enters the body.
When the allergen enters the body again, the immune system launches an attack by releasing chemicals such as histamine. The release of histamine is what causes allergy symptoms.
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 , all prepackaged food in the United States that use nuts as an ingredient must list the type of nut on the label.
For now, there are no rules requiring food manufacturers to list if their food has been contaminated with, or processed on, the same equipment as other foods containing nuts.
Foods That Contain Tree Nuts
Food that always or almost always contains tree nuts include:
- Nut meal
- Natural extracts: almond and wintergreen
There are some places where it may be difficult to avoid tree nuts. These include parties or gatherings where bowls of mixed nuts may be served.
As with many common allergens, tree nuts are sometimes found in unlikely foods, so be sure to read labels on all packaged foods before buying or eating them.
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Pine Nut Allergy Treatment
Any time you suspect a severe allergic reaction, you should seek immediate emergency care. For longer term management, consulting an allergist is important as they can help you recognize the symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe reactions, and give the most appropriate treatment.
Food allergies, including allergies to pine nuts, are best treated by completely avoiding the food. To accomplish this it may be necessary to learn how to read food labels, deal with the potential dangers of restaurants, and be aware of other potential exposure.
The most effective treatment for serious allergic food reactions is epinephrine injection. Epinephrine self-administration devices are the first line of defense against anaphylaxis. Severe reactions can occur even in people who have only had relatively mild reactions in the past. Talk to your allergist about the suitability of carrying an epinephrine injector if you, or your child, have a known allergy to pine nuts. If you have been prescribed an epinephrine injector, use it at the first sign of symptoms and then go to the nearest emergency room.
Diagnosis And Testing Of Pine Nut Allergy
It is important to visit an allergist at the earliest when there is any doubt regarding the allergy. Allergists usually note down the details of family history and persisting symptoms and then suggest some tests, which can confirm if the individual is actually allergic to pine nuts.
The most common method of diagnosis is skin prick test. In this test, a small portion of the skin is pricked with the help of a needle and a small amount of suspected allergen extract is incorporated in the pricked portion of the skin. The allergist waits until there is the emergence of any red bumps in the pricked area. Redness signifies that the patient is allergic to pine nuts.
Sometimes, blood test is used as a diagnosis method for confirming the presence of pine nut allergy. In this test, the blood is checked for the presence of immunoglobulin E antibodies. If these antibodies are present in more number, it signifies that the patient is allergic.
The third form of diagnosis method is performed in rare cases. A small amount of the allergy source is administered to the suspected patient under the observation of allergist to check for the reaction. There is always a risk for anaphylaxis to occur, so this diagnosis method should not be tried at home and should always be performed under expert supervision.
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And Finally Water Chestnuts
Thank goodness, the Chinese water chestnut is most definitely NOT a nut, its a grass-like sedge grown for its edible corms. It grows in marshes, underwater in the mud, so stir fries are safe water chestnuts are our friends.
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So, the answer to the question is probably, yes, you should exercise caution where chestnuts are concerned. No restnuts choasting on my open fire not since reacting to a cake made with chestnut flour. I dont even know what chestnuts taste like on their own. What do they taste like? Are they nice? Are they nutty? Anyone out there with a chestnut allergy?
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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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 of 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 a child 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 is greater than usual. Ask your doctor to refer you to a clinical immunology or allergy specialist.
What Happens To Patients With Nut Allergy
When people have nut allergies, their body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in the nut. If people eat something that contains nuts, their body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders and responds by working very hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction.
Even a small amount of peanut or tree nut protein can set off a reaction. However, allergic reactions from breathing in small particles of nuts or peanuts are rare. That’s because people usually have to eat the food to cause a reaction. Most foods containing peanuts don’t allow enough of the protein to escape into the air to cause a reaction. Just the smell of foods containing peanuts won’t cause a reaction because the scent doesn’t contain the protein.
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