Nut Allergies - Nut Allergies Occur Mainly, But Not Exclusively, In Children

Peanuts are the most well known allergy-causing foods. Nuts can be of many kinds and often children complain of nut allergy. Peanuts are not actually a true nut; they're a legume and belong to the same family as peas and lentils. But the proteins in peanuts are alike in structure to those in tree nuts. For these grounds, people who are allergic to peanuts can also be allergic to other various kinds of nuts such as tree nuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, and cashews.

Nut allergy is a kind of food allergy. It is a hypersensitivity to dietary substances from tree nuts causing an overreaction in the immune system which may lead to severe physical symptoms for many people. Nut allergy is slightly different from peanut allergy because the types of nuts that cause the allergic reactions are not the same. Peanuts fall in the category of legumes whereas tree nuts are considered dry fruits. The symptoms of peanut allergy and nut allergy are the same, but a person with peanut allergies may not necessarily be allergic to tree nuts.

Tree nut allergies happen mostly, but not exclusively, in children. They are generally treated with an exclusion diet and avoidance of foods that may contain tree nuts or nut particles and/or oils. The worst case of a nut allergy reaction can lead to what is called anaphylaxis and is an emergency situation which requires immediate attention and treatment with epinephrine.

An allergic reaction happens when someone's immune system mistakenly believes that something harmless, such as a tree nut or peanut, is actually harmful. The immune system reacts by creating definite antibodies to proteins in that food. These antibodies called are designed to fight off the "invading" proteins.

Antibodies activate the discharge of definite chemicals into the body. One such antibody is histamine. The discharge of histamine can have an effect on a person's respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and cardiovascular system, causing allergy symptoms like wheezing, stomach ache, vomiting, itchy hives, and swelling.

Response to foods, like peanuts and tree nuts, can be diverse. It all depends on the person and from time to time the same person can respond differently at different times. Some reactions can be very gentle and engage only one system of the body, like hives on the skin. Other reactions can be more severe and engage more than one part of the body. Most reactions last less than a day and affect four body systems.

Skin reactions are the most widespread type of food allergy reactions. They can take the form of itchy, red, bumpy rashes (hives), eczema, or redness and bulge around the mouth or face. When there is allergic reaction in the Gastrointestinal system symptoms can take the appearance of belly cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Respiratory system shows symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing to the triggering of asthma with coughing and wheezing. Ad allergic reaction in the cardiovascular system can make the person feel lightheaded.

Peanut reactions can be very harsh, even if a person is not exposed to much peanut protein. Specialist thinks this might be because the immune system recognizes peanut proteins more easily than other food proteins.