What Is a Tree Nut Allergy?

North Texas tree nut allergy management.
Image Credit – Dzianis_Rakhuba/Shutterstock.com

A tree nut allergy is an immune system response to the proteins found in tree nuts. For people across North Texas, managing a tree nut allergy requires ongoing caution to avoid exposure to various nuts. Given the potential for severe reactions, learning about food allergies is necessary to stay safe and healthy. So with that in mind, here are the essential details you need to know.

What Are the Main Types of Tree Nut Allergies?

The most common types of tree nuts that cause allergies are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. A person with a tree nut allergy might be allergic to several of these nuts – or just one. And while it’s possible to suffer a severe reaction after eating any nut type, certain varieties (like cashews) are more likely to cause anaphylaxis, according to a National Library of Medicine study.

What Causes a Tree Nut Allergy?

Tree nuts are caused by an immune system overreaction to the proteins in certain tree nuts. When the body detects these proteins, the immune system releases chemicals like histamine to protect the body. However, the result can be a series of uncomfortable allergy symptoms. So why does this process take place? The final answer is not yet known, though environmental and genetic factors are believed to play a role.

How to Identify a Tree Nut Allergy

Identifying a tree nut allergy requires an awareness of symptoms and the utilization of allergy testing procedures. Allergy testing is important as it can narrow down the exact tree nuts your body reacts to. This allergen identification means you don’t need to remove important nutrients from your diet in an unfocused manner. To recognize symptoms, watch for itching, hives, swelling, abdominal pain, diarrhea or even difficulty breathing shortly after exposure to tree nuts.

Understanding Cross-Reactivity and Tree Nuts

Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in a certain tree nut are similar to those in another tree nut, or in a different type of food like peanuts or seeds. This cross-reactivity means that a person could be at risk from various foods and in fact, it may be necessary to avoid all tree nuts until your allergist has developed an allergy management plan.

Managing Your Tree Nut Allergy

When you experience an allergic reaction after eating tree nuts, it’s important to avoid them all until you’ve received guidance on allergy management. One of the first steps in the process will be comprehensive food allergy testing at your allergist’s office. With the accurate results from a skin prick, blood or oral food challenge test, patients can get the right advice on the best tree nut allergy care approach.

Professional Tree Nut Allergy Care in North Texas

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a tree nut allergy, TexasAllergyMD can help. We offer a range of innovative allergy management solutions at our allergy treatment centers in McKinney/Prosper and Southlake. To learn more, call (469) 375-1525 or request an appointment today.

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