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Nut allergies

© Nikolai Pavlov Circassian walnuts
© Nikolai Pavlov

For people allergic to nuts, the first noticeable signs of a mild allergic reaction to both tree nuts and peanuts (peanuts aren’t technically a nut, but can still cause reactions) are usually a tingling mouth and lips, swelling of the face, nausea, rashes, stomach pains and a feeling of tightness in the throat.

More serious allergic reactions include all of the above symptoms, and if the individual is not treated correctly and swiftly, additional complications can include difficulty breathing, dilation of the blood vessels- increasing heart rate and redness of the skin- an impending sense of doom (caused by a release of chemicals into the brain) and low blood pressure which may lead to collapse and unconsciousness. In extreme cases, death can result from nut allergies.

Those who suffer from nut allergies do not show allergic reactions the first time nut products are consumed (although this might be through breast milk etc.). During first contact, the body recognises the threat to the immune system, but does not fight it. Only on the second exposure to nuts do the above symptoms become apparent.

Managing nut allergies can be a simple, but extensive task. The primary concern of all nut allergy suffers is to avoid nuts at all times – this is most simply done by checking the ingredients in foodstuffs, as well as being careful with preparation techniques. Secondly, make sure you and your family know what to do in case of a reaction – the sooner treatment is administered, the less likely severe damage will be caused. Some milder reactions can be cured with anti-histamine medicines, but more serious reactions may need medical treatment.

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