Having an almond allergy can be an inconvenient and potentially dangerous affliction, so it is very important to understand the signs and symptoms of this type of allergy, as well as potential diagnostic methods and treatments.
What is an Almond Allergy?
An almond allergy typically comes in two forms: a primary or secondary allergy. If you have a primary allergy to these tree nuts, it is due to a process called sensitization in the body. Basically, you were exposed to almonds in the past, and your body created antibodies to defend against what it considered a foreign substance. Further exposure to almonds results in an allergic reaction by the body; this may also occur when you drink almond milk or eat any almond-containing product.
A secondary almond allergy is when your body mistakes the protein of almonds for the protein found in some other plant, such as the pollen of a hayfever-inducing flower. When the body detects that similar protein, it may cause mild inflammation in the throat or mouth. This secondary allergy is rather rare, in comparison to primary allergy reactions, but the symptoms tend to be milder in secondary reactions.
Almond Allergy Symptoms
The main symptoms of an allergy to almonds include nausea, rash, stomach pain, and even anaphylaxis, in the most serious cases.
Whenever the body ingests something to which it is allergic, the stomach will react, either with indigestion, stomach pain, bloating, cramping, vomiting or diarrhea.
Skin and Mouth Issues
Perhaps the most common symptoms of an almond allergy are rashes or swelling on the skin or mouth – the areas that came in contact with the nut. Provided this swelling doesn’t make your breathing difficult, this symptom will eventually fade.
The most dangerous type of nut allergy symptom, anaphylaxis can affect both your breathing and circulation very quickly. It can be difficult to breathe or swallow, you may become dizzy, lose consciousness, and even die, in rare instances.
Almond Allergy Diagnosis
An almond allergy can best be diagnosed with various basic tests administered at a doctor’s office, including skin prick tests and blood tests.
Skin Prick Test
By placing a small amount of the substance on the skin, and then pricking that area very gently, a doctor can observe the body’s reaction to the offending allergen – inflammation and redness will indicate an allergy is present.
Almond Allergy Treatment
The best treatment for an almond allergy is to avoid the nuts entirely, but that isn’t always possible. For serious allergic reactions, the use of epinephrine is essential, but being careful about certain foods is also important.
For serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening, an epinephrine pen is essential to have on hand. This can give your body a jolt of adrenaline to overcome the allergic response of the body and can save your life. Those with severe almond allergies – or any other nut allergies, for that matter – should always carry an epinephrine pen in case of an attack.
The best advice is to avoid foods that contain almonds or may have come in contact with almonds. Tailoring your diet to avoid these types of trigger foods can be difficult, but in combination with acute treatment measures, such as allergy medication or inhalers, you can confidently control this rather common allergy.