UNITED STATES — When patients are diagnosed with a peanut or tree nut allergy, they are often advised to avoid all nuts to be safe.
However, a new study released on Monday morning finds half of those who think they’re allergic to all nuts actually are not, according to NBC’s Erika Edwards.
The research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology examined 109 people known to be allergic to a specific nut like walnuts, almonds, or cashews. Despite blood or skin prick tests that showed a sensitivity to other nuts, 50% of those patients had no reaction when doctors had the patients actually eat the other nuts, and very few of those diagnosed with a peanut allergy in the study ended up clinically allergic to tree nuts.
“In patients with multiple food allergies, especially, if we can liberate their diet, allowing them to eat other foods, quality of life is much better,” said Chris Couch of the American College of Allergy.
This past January, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said most children should have a little taste of peanut butter or another food with peanut in it by six months of age. Research shows babies exposed to peanuts by then are 80% less likely to develop a peanut allergy.
If introducing children to nuts, remember never to give whole peanuts to children under age four, as they are choking hazards. Experts also say if a child has already been diagnosed with a nut allergy, it is important to try other nuts only under supervision of a doctor.