Only half of people with peanut or tree nut allergies know what the nut they are allergic to looks like, according to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in Phoenix.
Researchers assembled a nut display that held peanuts and nine tree nuts in 19 different forms. A worksheet, which listed the items, was completed by 1,105 participants 6 years or older. Responses were analyzed based on demographics, presence or absence of food allergies, and occupational history. Neither adults nor children recognized all the forms of the nuts.
Peanuts and tree nuts are common food allergens among children and adults and are the leading cause of death from food-induced anaphylaxis. Since the primary treatment is to avoid nuts, children and parents must be able to identify peanuts and tree nuts in their common forms, say the study's authors. "Treatment of nut allergies with dietary avoidance should include education for both adults and children on identification of peanuts and tree nuts."
More than 3 million people in the United States report being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, or both. An allergist can help people identify the specific foods that trigger an allergic reaction and discuss actions to avoid them.