Peanut allergy facts for Atlanta patients

Peanut allergies are among the most common food allergies affecting adults and children in the United States. And with a portion of this group facing the threat of severe reactions, finding an effective peanut allergy treatment is of critical importance. Sadly, fear of allergic reactions causes many Atlanta patients to avoid all types of nuts and other common allergens. But if you have a peanut allergy, are you also allergic to tree nuts?

What Is the Difference Between a Peanut Allergy and a Tree Nut Allergy?

While peanuts and tree nuts are often characterized in the same way, they are actually quite different. Peanuts are legumes, which are edible seeds that grow underground. In contrast, tree nuts are the seeds of fruits and of course, grow on trees.

However, the reason that people face severe allergic reactions from peanuts and tree nuts is broadly the same. The immune system overreacts to the presence of proteins in foods, then releases chemicals that cause physical reactions.

Are People With Peanut Allergies Also Allergic to Tree Nuts?

Peanuts and tree nuts are different, but that doesn’t mean people can’t be allergic to both. One study estimates that 30% of people with peanut allergies are also allergic to tree nuts. In practice, allergies are complicated – it requires the assistance of a specialist allergy doctor to understand a person’s allergy profile. For example, you can be allergic to only one type of tree nut or many, and also experience cross-reactivity to another allergen.

Cross-Reactivity of Peanuts and Tree Nuts

A further study identified that between 20% and 40% of peanut-allergic people have coexisting allergies to distantly related tree nuts. In trials, 34% of peanut-allergic participants had a clinically documented allergy to tree nuts, and a link has been identified between cross-reactive B cell epitopes found in some peanut and tree nut allergens.

How Can I Treat a Peanut Allergy?

Ultimately, without food allergy testing an individual cannot know for sure if they’re likely to experience allergic reactions to multiple allergens. Skin prick testing allows an allergist to test for numerous allergies, including various types of tree nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pecans.

After diagnosing a patient, the allergist will recommend an effective peanut or tree nut allergy treatment. For some people, medication will adequately manage allergic reactions, with epinephrine offering protection in cases of anaphylaxis. In other cases, oral immunotherapy is a preferred option for allergen desensitization.

Trusted Peanut Allergy Treatments in Atlanta and the Surrounding Areas

Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center provides effective peanut allergy diagnoses and treatments for adults and children. If you’re concerned about a food allergy, visit one of our locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment now.

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