Almonds and other tree nuts are great sources of nutrients, but for some people they can also cause allergic reactions that range from a mild rash to severe breathing difficulties. Such reactions typically occur within minutes to 2 hours after eating. Though outgrowing allergies is certainly possible, at least one study suggests that the odds favor persistence when it comes to tree nut allergies. If you are allergic to almonds, the more you know about your symptoms, the better you'll be able to partner with your physician and discuss your care.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Skin and Mouth
Symptoms involving the skin are the most typical reactions to food allergy that come to medical attention. These include hives or other types of itchy rashes and typically appear within an hour of exposure. Symptoms affecting the mouth are sometimes referred to as the oral allergy syndrome 4. The mouth and/or throat may feel itchy or tingly, and the tongue may also swell. These symptoms usually appear 5 to 10 minutes after eating an almond and typically occur in people who are also allergic to birch tree pollen. Such symptoms typically do not progress beyond the mouth.
- Symptoms involving the skin are the most typical reactions to food allergy that come to medical attention.
- These symptoms usually appear 5 to 10 minutes after eating an almond and typically occur in people who are also allergic to birch tree pollen.
Respiratory Tract and Gastrointestinal Systems
Respiratory tract symptoms typically include a stuffy, runny and/or itchy nose and may also involve sneezing. Gastrointestinal symptoms typically include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. These symptoms usually occur soon after eating tree nuts.
Anaphylaxis is a serious reaction that can be associated with allergy to tree nuts and peanuts. It can affect a person's breathing as well as circulation. Symptoms typically occur within a few minutes to a few hours of exposure and may include:
- throat tightness
- shortness of breath
- difficulty swallowing
- chest pain
- low blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
Without immediate medical treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal.
Warnings and Precautions
Symptoms of Allergies to Chickpeas and Soy
If you are allergic to almonds, consider avoiding all tree nuts because of potential cross-reactivity. Read food labels carefully, keeping in mind that manufacturers of nut-flavored alcoholic beverages are not required to include nuts in ingredient lists.
Anaphylaxis requires immediate emergency care. According to guidelines published in the January 2011 issue of "Nutrition Research," when confronted with an anaphylactic reaction, a person should try to remove the trigger if possible but also call 911. If using an epinephrine autoinjector, or EpiPen, administer epinephrine via the thigh muscle, following the manufacturer's instructions, prior to visiting the ER.
- If you are allergic to almonds, consider avoiding all tree nuts because of potential cross-reactivity.
- According to guidelines published in the January 2011 issue of "Nutrition Research," when confronted with an anaphylactic reaction, a person should try to remove the trigger if possible but also call 911.
Symptoms of Allergies to Chickpeas and Soy
Allergic Reaction to Citrus Fruits
Can Pistachio Nuts Cause Diarrhea?
Bird Allergy Symptoms
Can I Eat Coconuts if I am Allergic to Nuts?
Almond Butter Allergy
Raw Almonds and Swollen Lips
Allergy to Lentils
Nutritional Value of Raw Almonds
- Nutrients: Health Benefits of Nut Consumption
- Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: The Natural History of Tree Nut Allergy
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Almond Allergens: Molecular Characterization, Detection, and Clinical Relevance
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Oral Allergy Syndrome
- Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Oral Allergy Syndrome: a Clinical, Diagnostic, and Therapeutic Challenge
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Hives (Uticaria)
- American Family Physician: Manifestations of Food Allergy: Evaluation and Management
- Clinical Pediatrics: Tree Nut Allergy, Egg Allergy, and Asthma in Children
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- Kashyap RR, Kashyap RS. Oral Allergy Syndrome: An Update for Stomatologists. J Allergy (Cairo). 2015;2015:543928. doi:10.1155/2015/543928
- Usatine RP, Riojas M. Diagnosis and management of contact dermatitis. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(3):249-55.
- Epling J. Bacterial conjunctivitis. BMJ Clin Evid. 2012;2012:0704. Published 2012 Feb 20.
- Joneja, Janice Vickerstaff. The Health Professional's Guide to Food Allergies and Intolerances. 2013. Academy of Nutrition and DIetetics.
- Sicherer, Scott. Food Allergies. A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It. 2013. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD.
Keren Price began medical writing in 1997. Over the years, she has written for a wide range of clients, including Medtronic, Salix Pharmaceuticals, and General Mills. Prior to her medical writing career, Price was the managing editor of the Journal of Nutrition Education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in biopsychology from Tufts University and a Master's degree in nutrition from Penn State.