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Types of Food Allergies
Corn Allergy
Egg Allergy
Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Fish Allergy
Food Additive Intolerance
Meat Allergy
Milk Allergy
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Peanut Allergy
Shellfish Allergy
Soy Allergy
Tree Nut Allergy
Wheat Allergy
Cooking with Food Allergies
Avoidance Measures
Find an Allergist

Tree Nut Allergy

From the popular walnut to the lesser-known lichee nut, tree nuts come in various shapes and sizes. Along with peanuts and shellfish, tree nuts are one of the major food allergens most often linked to anaphylaxis—a serious, rapid onset allergic reaction that may cause death—and emergency department visits. Tree nut allergy is also considered to be lifelong in most tree nut allergic individuals; fewer than 10 percent of people with tree nut allergy symptoms outgrow it.

There’s often confusion between peanuts and tree nuts. Peanuts, which are legumes, are unrelated to tree nuts. Research findings have indicated that 28 percent to 50 percent of patients who are allergic to peanuts also react to at least one tree nut.

Tree nut foods to avoid

People who are diagnosed with an allergy to a specific tree nut may be able to tolerate other tree nuts, but allergists usually advise their tree nut allergy patients to avoid all nuts. Tree nuts are commonly used as garnishes in salads, as a featured ingredient in Asian dishes, and as an ice cream topping. They may also be found in baking mixes, breading, sauces, desserts, and baked goods.

Tree nut allergies in children

Tree nut allergies among children significantly increased in the last decade. According to a recent study, there was a fivefold increase in the number of children in the United States with self-reported tree nut allergy, from 0.2 percent in 1997 to 1.1 percent, or 820,069 American children under the age of 18, in 2008.

 Frequently asked tree nut questions

If you have a tree nut allergy, do you need to avoid peanuts?

Even if they are not allergic to peanuts, people allergic to tree nuts are often advised to avoid peanuts as well because of the probability of cross-contact between tree nuts and peanuts in facilities that process foods. Talk to your allergist about whether or not you should avoid peanuts.

Should someone with a tree nut allergy avoid coconut and nutmeg?

Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet.

Nutmeg is a spice that is derived from seeds, not nuts. It may be safely eaten by people with tree nut allergy.

Allergy Success Stories

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Anaphylaxis Information

Anaphylaxis is a rare but severe allergic reaction that can be deadly. Learn more about the symptoms and emergency treatment for this dangerous condition.

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Find an Allergist

An allergist is a doctor who has the specialized training and experience to find out what causes your allergies, prevent and treat symptoms, and help keep them under control. Find an allergist in your zip code and find relief.

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