Living with Nut Allergy | Tips

5 Tips if you are living with a nut allergy

Most likely, you have had the topic of tree nut allergy come up whether you are allergic yourself or you know someone who has a tree nut allergy. Tree nut allergies are the most common food allergies found in children and adults.

What is a tree nut? Tree nuts include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachio, and Brazil nuts. Ironically the peanut is not included in this category, as it is a legume rather than a nut. Seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower, and sesame are also not included in the tree nut family.

It is very common that a person with an allergy to one type of tree nut also has higher chances of being allergic to other kinds. It makes sense that if someone has an allergy, it may be safest to stay away from all nuts. Although the peanut is a legume, it is also recommended to avoid peanuts in such instances, mainly due to the risk of cross-contamination between the tree nuts and peanuts during the manufacturing process.

When it comes to allergies, it is always better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to tree nut allergies, you can take some simple extra precautions to avoid accidental exposure to nuts. Although living with allergies can be frustrating and even annoying, there are things you can do to minimize the chances of an accident.

Be prepared for accidental exposure: Carry at least one, if not two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times to prevent a reaction. Make sure that you know how to use it in case of a life-threatening situation.
Read all labels every time you shop: Make sure to read all labels of packaged food products every time you shop in case there have been any changes.
Be extra mindful: When someone is living with a tree nut allergy, you must watch out for foods commonly made with nuts, for example, sweet treats like baked goods, frozen desserts, ice cream, puddings, and other candies, cereals, granolas, energy bars, sauces, salad dressings, meat-free burgers, mortadella, grain bread, chili and soups, and anything packaged.
Beware of Cross-contact: Any foods that do not contain peanuts or tree nuts can get still get contaminated by simply being prepared in the same facilities and equipment. When you are living with allergies, cross-contact is something you always need to be aware of.
Looks for Nuts Outside the Kitchen: Nuts and peanuts are also commonly used in lotion, shampoo, pet food, and other products. Again, always check labels on all the products you buy if you are living with a nut allergy.
If you have a tree nut allergy, typically it is something you have been dealing with for quite some time. Approximately 9% of people who have tree nut allergies will outgrow them by adulthood. The other 91% will carry their tree nut allergy for their entire life.

Regardless, we could all agree that it is important to know how to best manage this type of an allergy and not take chances since in many cases, the allergic reaction can become life-threatening.

Written by Lisa Saremi