Is A Cashew Allergy Anything Special?

Is there anything about a cashew allergy that differentiates it from other common food allergies? When someone is allergic to a certain food item, it is normally because there is a certain protein in that particular food that is the source of the problem, and the immune system reacts, or more precisely overreacts, to the presence of that protein. A person who is allergic to a certain fruit or nut for example, is often allergic to certain other fruits or nuts but not all fruits or nuts, On the other hand, some are allergic to seafoods or shellfish, no matter what the species.

Tree Nut Allergies - While we hear most often about peanut allergies and how potentially dangerous they can be, the peanut is not a tree nut, or even a nut, but a legume. And-person allergic to peanuts will not necessarily have a cashew allergy, or any other nut allergy for that matter, although there is evidence that someone with a peanut allergy has a tendency towards other nut allergies. Very few nuts actually cause allergies among most people, but the two which most often do are the cashew nut and the walnut, and in both cases the allergic reaction is often severe. Different tree nuts belong to different families, and when someone is allergic to a certain nut they may quite likely be allergic to another nut in the same family. Those allergic to walnuts for example, are very often, though not necessarily always, allergic to the pecan. Cashews, beechnuts and hazelnuts belong to the same family and someone with a cashew allergy may also be allergic to hazelnuts, though for some reason, the cashew allergy tends to be much more severe. Almonds and a few other nuts appear to stand alone, having no near relatives. With nuts as with other foods causing allergies, it boils down to the types of protein contained in the particular nut.

Cashew Allergy Symptoms - Milder symptoms of a cashew allergy may be limited to a skin rash, itching and perhaps an upset stomach. Slightly more severe symptoms can include diarrhea and vomiting, not always dangerous in themselves but carry the possibility of dehydration if the symptoms persist, and can lead to a more serious condition. The more severe, and potentially life-threatening cashew allergy symptoms include swelling in the airways potentially leading to blockage, or swelling in the face or neck which can have the same effect. Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous symptom, as the entire body reacts. Not only can swelling make breathing difficult or nearly impossible, blood pressure may drop significantly, causing a person to go into shock, with potentially fatal consequences.

Food Allergies And Food Intolerance - It's important to distinguish between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Food allergies tend to produce symptoms immediately, as the immune system springs into action the instant allergens are detected. Food intolerance on the other hand usually has more to do with the digestive process, specifically with the digestive system being unable to digest certain proteins in the suspect food item. Although some symptoms may mimic those of an allergy, they are usually slower to develop and often are confined to the digestive tract.

Although an intolerance towards cashew nuts would normally be less dangerous than an allergic reaction, it would still make sense to avoid consumption of the nut. Even if an allergic reaction is the case, but is a mild one, it would still make sense to be on the safe side and avoid the nut altogether. Mild allergic reactions sometimes have a history of suddenly turning ugly, as some who have had experiences with latex have found out.




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