Nut Allergies Cause Life-Threatening Episodes
The only true prevention of suffering from an anaphylactic reaction to nut allergies is to avoid all contact with nuts. This may not always be possible as there are some items containing nuts or nut products that you may never consider as being dangerous. Even if products made without nuts are produced in the same equipment in which nuts have been used can be contaminated and cause problems for someone with nut allergies.
Some of the products that may contain nuts include grain bread, certain ice cream flavors, cookies, candy, granola bars, salad dressing and marzipan. Additionally, many oriental foods such as Chinese, Thai and African dishes may contain nuts or nut products.
It is unknown why some people have nut allergies and why some suffer more severely than others do. However, while the first episode or reaction to an allergy may be uncomfortable, subsequent episodes could be fatal. Anaphylaxis is the allergic response of nut allergies causing 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 death.
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.
Symptoms Appear Quickly And Noticeably
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 will usually 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. Different types of foods, in addition to nut allergies can trigger anaphylaxis, such as shellfish, dairy products, eggs and bee stings, among others.
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. There is only one effective treatment for anaphylaxis and that is an injection of epinephrine, which quickly reverses the symptoms. Although epinephrine tablets are available, they may take as long as an hour to reach the blood stream, which may be too late.