Nothing is more difficult for a parent than watching their child being unwell. Even though allergies can happen to any child, those from families with a history of allergies are more likely to experience them. According to the American College Of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, approximately 2.5% of children have peanut allergies. This number has climbed by 20% since 2010.
It is essential to recognize that “nuts” is a broad phrase and that a child may be allergic to two distinct groups of nuts. The first classification is peanuts (which are legumes). Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and cashews are included in the second category of tree nuts. (ACAAI Public Website)
Let us explore the common symptoms of this allergy.
What Are The Common Nut Allergy Symptoms?
The reason for nut allergy symptoms in children is an overreaction of the immune system. The child’s body perceives the nut protein as an invader and emits significant quantities of histamine in response. Excessive levels of histamine are responsible for the characteristic symptoms of food allergies.
Signs of nut allergies might vary depending on the type of nut to which a child is allergic and the severity of their nut allergy. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, even a minute amount of allergen can induce symptoms.
Infants and toddlers with a nut allergy typically exhibit rashes and vomiting. Symptoms like swelling, wheezing, trouble breathing, and hypersensitivity are likely to be more prevalent in older children (a severe and sometimes fatal allergic reaction). (Mayo Clinic)
Other typical nut allergy symptoms include itching, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Eyelid swelling, diarrhea, and vertigo may also be present.
Immediately following exposure, the most severe allergic reactions to nuts are triggered. Extreme allergic responses include hives and swelling across the entire body, difficulty breathing or swallowing, feeling faint or passing out, and repeated vomiting. Suppose your child is experiencing symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. In that case, you should administer emergency treatment and contact emergency services immediately.
(Defelice, NeMours Kidshealth)
How To Protect A Child With a Nut Allergy
An allergy to nuts can occasionally result in a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may begin with the same symptoms as a milder allergic reaction but can rapidly become more powerful. The individual may experience difficulty breathing or faint. Multiple parts of the body may be implicated. In the absence of any treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal. (VeryWellFamily)
Suppose nut allergies run in your family, or you are concerned about your child acquiring a nut allergy. In that case, you may be asking what you can do to prevent it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend introducing your child to common allergens as early as 4 to 6 months for risk reduction. (Wisner, VeryWell Family) This is something to be done under the guidance of your pediatrician.
Prepare For A Nut Allergy Emergency
Ensure that epinephrine auto-injectors are easy for your child to access when at school, via the school nurse or classroom administrator. Additionally, make sure that your child or a caretaker always has two epinephrine auto-injectors with them, whether at school, at a birthday party, or on vacation. Carry two epinephrine auto-injectors just in case one of them doesn’t work. (Gordon, Kids Health)
- Teaching your child and caregivers about handling an allergic reaction.
- Be aware of the symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling, frequent vomiting, loss of consciousness, and wheezing, and be prepared to act immediately.
- Use the auto-injector if your child has one severe symptom, such as trouble breathing, or two or more mild to severe symptoms, such as hives and vomiting.
The epinephrine auto-injector requires practice. The commonly asked questions are:
- Whether you twist the injector or remove caps?
- What side is skin-facing?
- Where do you inject?
- How to hold the injector?
Doctor’s office demos are available. The manufacturer’s website has instructions. Some manufacturers offer a trainer injector without epinephrine to facilitate safe practice. Continue practicing as your youngster ages. (Gordon, NeMours Kidshealth)
What matters most in the case of nut allergies is being well-prepared. Immediate action and awareness are advisable for serious complications. A little planning and prevention can help ensure that your child’s allergy does not interfere with his or her ability to live a happy, healthy life. In case of any serious symptoms, seek medical attention at the earliest.
“5 Ways to Prepare for an Allergy Emergency (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Hillary B. Gordon, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Nov. 2021, kidshealth.org/en/parents/allergy-emergency.html.
“Nut and Peanut Allergy (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Magee Defelice, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Aug. 2018, kidshealth.org/en/parents/nut-peanut-allergy.html.
Wisner, Wendy. “How Do I Know If My Kid Has a Nut Allergy?” Verywell Family, Verywell Family, 2 Aug. 2021, www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-a-nut-allergy-in-kids-5193469.
Nadolpho. “Peanut Allergy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” ACAAI Public Website, acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/peanut/.
Mayo Clinic. “Anaphylaxis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2 Oct. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351468.