If an individual has nut allergy, an initial contact with nuts triggers the immune system to react. Nevertheless, there are no symptoms of a reaction at this point. It is on the second exposure that a full-blown allergic reaction occurs. Many children who have nut allergy experience the symptoms once they are exposed to nuts for the first time.
Many individuals with nut allergy react after exposure to small amounts and some react to even trace amounts. It simply means that one does not always have to consume nuts to experience a reaction.
What are the indications?
The reactions that manifest if an individual has nut allergy can range from mild to severe and even life-threatening. The symptoms often start rapidly, usually in an hour of exposure to a nut and even minutes in some cases. The reactions that manifest more than 4 hours after is not likely an allergy.
- Tingling of the lips and mouth
- Feeling sick
- Facial swelling
- Colicky pain in the abdomen
- Tightness around the throat
In a severe reaction to nut allergy, all the above symptoms are present along with the following:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Sense of impending doom
- Dilation of the blood vessels which causes a rapid heart rate, generalized skin redness and low blood pressure.
What should I do during an allergic reaction?
- An antihistamine tablet should be given right away. These medications work by blocking the action of histamine which is a chemical released during an allergic reaction. It takes around 15-30 minutes to take effect.
- If the nut allergy reaction worsens, seek immediate medical care.
Severe reaction or anaphylaxis
- If an epinephrine autoinjector is available, administer a shot.
- Call for emergency assistance.
It is important to note that the mild symptoms can last for up to an hour but the severe symptoms can last longer. The individual might require hospitalization to ensure that he/she has fully recovered.