Many people can go into anaphylactic shock as a reaction to their nut allergies. If you suspect that you or a loved one are allergic to nuts it is very important to know the signs of anaphylaxis and to understand where the threat can come from. Nuts are used in many ways in today’s cooking. They are also hidden in common foods that you may not be aware of.
Contamination of food can happen in the production of foods that though they don’t have nuts in their recipe can have trace amounts due to the equipment used in the production of the food. Many people think they can manage their nut allergies by just avoiding the nuts but in order to really be safe you need to ask questions and be savvy about what foods may or may not contain nuts. Keep in mind that a nut allergy is not just peanut related. You may be allergic to nuts like walnuts or cashews. Tree nuts are sometimes used in shampoos and lotions so it is important to carefully check the labels of all products you use if you suffer from nut allergies.
Here is a short list of some foods you may not have thought of as possibly having some form of nuts:
- grain bread
- certain ice cream flavors
- granola bars
- salad dressing
Many multicultural dishes may have nuts in them. Some possible dishes are oriental foods such as Chinese, Thai and African dishes. products.
It is unknown why some people have nut allergies and why some suffer more severely than others do. Some of the lucky ones can outgrow their allergies. Peanut allergies in infants can actually change over time.
Anaphylactic Shock: The Body’s Response
Anaphylaxis is the body’s allergic response to nuts. Nut allergies can cause swelling, reduced blood pressure and dilated veins and arteries. Typically, a person will go into anaphylactic shock, which if not treated quickly, can cause coma and can sometimes be fatal.
Nut allergies are also very sneaky in that the first episode or reaction to an allergy may just be uncomfortable, while subsequent episodes could be fatal. Immunoglobulin E, is created by the immune system to fight a usually harmless substance, in this case nuts and when it appears the first time, your body may produce antibodies, but will not react. However, if a person with nut allergies is exposed again the antibodies will produce large amounts of histamines causing the symptoms to appear.
Typically, anaphylaxis begins within minutes of exposure by someone with nut allergies with itching in the eyes and face and quickly advance to difficulty breathing and swallowing. It may also be accompanied by stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Angioedema, swelling under the skin can also be present. When the symptoms first appear it is imperative that you seek medical help immediately as it can quickly cause an increase in your heart rate, rapid drop in blood pressure, shock and possibly death if left untreated.
As you can see nut allergies are not something you can take lightly. It is very important to be aware of the severe reaction that can be caused by nuts. It is especially important if you have children or are responsible for the care of children. Typically child care providers should be trained in first aid which includes diagnosing possible anaphylaxis. Though treatments like epinephrine pens and pills can help it is usually the best bet to seek emergency care immediately since nut allergies can be fatal.