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On Being Allergic To Peanuts Or Tree Nuts: It May Not Be Both [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 30, 2017 10:19 AM EDT

A person who is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts does not have to be allergic to both. An oral food challenge proved that being allergic to peanuts does not mean having the same reaction to tree nuts.

Dr. Christopher Couch and his team of researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School studied the medical records of 109 participants. They had an allergy to tree nuts and had a sensitivity to other nuts based on skin prick tests.

When they ate a tiny amount of other nuts, half of the volunteers did not have any allergic reaction--contrary to the result of the skin tests. Close to none of them were found to be allergic to peanuts.

Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, who was part of the research, explained that an allergy to a certain nut should not stop people from trying to include peanuts and tree nuts in their diet. However, the oral challenge test should not be done without the presence of a trained allergist.

An estimated 1 percent of American children have a food allergy to tree nut, which ballooned three times in just over a decade. They can have severe reactions to even a tiny amount of food with nuts so these foods are often eliminated completely from their diet.

A new guideline released in January by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommended introducing peanut protein to children before they reach the age of 6 months-- in the presence of an allergy specialist-- as it might help prevent the allergy from forming, the NBC News reported.

People who are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts and those around them often confuse the two types of food. Peanuts are actually not the same as tree nuts as the former are legumes. Coconut is considered by the FDA as a tree nut but it is a fruit. It may be safe for many who are allergic to tree nuts. Nutmeg is a type of spice taken from the seeds of the nutmeg tree, according to the ACAAI.

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