Hazelnut Allergy: Symptoms, Test and Treatment
The hazelnut allergy is one of the most common allergies within tree fruits. When they are in their husk they are similar to acorns. Like other types of tree fruits, they can cause food allergy symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Hazelnuts can grow almost anywhere, but most people buy them in stores. You can find hazelnuts on their own, in sandwiches and in sweets like praline. They are also used to make hazelnut chocolate pastries, such as the popular Nutella product, and to make Frangelico hazelnut liqueur.
Hazelnut allergy symptoms
Normally the symptoms can appear within two hours after the consumption of hazelnuts or foods that contain them.
These symptoms may include:
- Urticaria or eczema on the skin
- Allergic conjunctivitis in the eyes
- Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea
- Wheezing, cough or runny nose
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or face (known as angioedema)
- Anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Occasionally, some people have more severe reactions such as rashes, delayed gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
Are you allergic to birch pollen? Then you can also react allergically to hazelnuts.
The oral allergy syndrome (OAD) is a form of food allergy where people who are sensitive to specific types of pollen also react to certain foods that are related to these pollens.
In the case of hazelnuts, many people allergic to birch pollen also react to hazelnuts. The pollen from birches and hazelnuts contains allergens that are related, so your body reacts to both allergens.
Hazelnut allergy Treatment
The symptoms of oral allergy to hazelnut are usually quite mild and are limited to tingling, itching or swelling of the lips, tongue and throat.
These symptoms can be treated with an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl.
After taking an antihistamine, you should follow up over the next few hours to make sure that no more severe allergic symptoms develop.
Very rarely, there is a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
The most severe and full-body reactions require immediate treatment with a medication such as epinephrine.
There is no cure for hazelnut allergy.
The treatment of hazelnut allergy involves avoiding them and being prepared for future reactions.
Talk to your doctor or allergist if you have any symptoms after eating or touching hazelnuts.
You may need an allergy test to determine the severity of your reaction and to determine if you have allergies to other foods.
Do you need epinephrine auto-injector?
Some people with oral allergy only have localized reactions that are treated successfully with antihistamines.
However, your doctor may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector (commonly known as EpiPen) in case of a more serious reaction.
If your doctor prescribes this device, you will have to carry your autoinjector at all times so that you can use it in case of a serious reaction.
Hazelnuts are one of the most common food allergies, so they are covered by current food allergy labeling laws.
Food manufacturers should include them in the ingredient labels in simple language. This makes hazelnuts easy to avoid in packaged foods.
Some foods, such as those served in restaurants or in someone’s home, do not come with convenient ingredient lists.
You must learn to recognize foods that commonly contain hazelnuts. When ordering food at a restaurant, make sure you ask your waiter questions or ask to speak with the chef to inform him of your allergy to hazelnuts.