Walnut allergy is an uncommon type of food allergy. All of us have heard of the well-publicized peanut allergy. You might even have heard of milk and gluten allergies. But walnut allergy? Not so much. Because of the relative scarcity of reported cases of walnut allergy, it has been grouped all together with other tree nuts. However, the few who do have this allergy are thirsty for more information. This article provides a concise review of walnut allergy and its causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
Walnuts are the edible seeds of the plant genus Juglans. It is classified under tree nuts in general. The walnut itself, and even the oils present in walnuts have been promoted as healthy and beneficial. It has even been promoted as a stress reaction regulator. Additionally, a handful of walnuts eaten daily have been shown to reduce the effect of other harmful fats on the arteries. Moreover, the phenolic and antioxidant properties of this tree nut are being studied as a cancer chemopreventive agent.
The walnuts that are available commercially are usually known as the Persian or English walnut. Furthermore, there is also another variety of walnuts. These are known as the Californian black walnut, or simply the black walnut. Of these two, the one which causes the majority of reported allergic reactions to walnuts is the English walnut. This can be attributed to its prevalence in the market. Another reason is that English walnuts contain twice as many allergenic proteins than black walnuts. Aside from walnuts, the person may also be allergic to other types of tree nuts. Almond, cashew, pistachio, or hazelnuts may also elicit an allergic reaction. Sometimes people who have allergic reactions to walnuts may also be allergic to peanuts.
This is explained by the medical community as a type of allergy cross-reaction. A cross-reaction between different tree nuts may be credited to its relative analogous protein components. Because of this, the immune system may mistakenly presume that it is the same allergen. Thus, its reaction will be the same as with the walnut allergen.
An allergy to walnuts means that your body sees some proteins in walnuts as dangerous. As such, the walnut proteins are called as allergens. The body then proceeds in releasing chemicals to attack these allergens. When the body attacks the allergen, the resulting effects are seen as the symptoms of the allergy.
Initially, walnut consumption will produce rashes, hives, or swelling of the oral cavity.
This is also known as an oral allergy syndrome. When walnut we accidentally have eaten by allergic persons, a general feeling of itchiness can be felt. On top of this depending on the individual’s sensitivity, itchy throat, sinusitis, congested nasal passages, watery eyes, wheezing, inflammation of the respiratory passageway and increased heart rate may be observed.
Anaphylaxis may also take place in some sensitive people. It is a severe and grave allergic reaction brought about by walnut consumption. Emergency medication must be administered without delay when anaphylaxis occurs.
An allergic person may be prescribed with injectable epinephrine. This is used to manage anaphylaxis attacks. Nevertheless, the person must be advised to seek proper medical attention even after self-injection of epinephrine. Think about speaking to your allergist to get a prescription for this medicine. It can be a life-saving tool when you are accidentally exposed to walnuts.
Walnut allergies can become a hassle in everyday living. However, when you are armed with the right information, the quality of your life will greatly improve. Learn to read and find out more about your condition and be free of your walnut allergy blues.