What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

A food intolerance isn’t the same as a food allergy.

People with food intolerance may own symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps.

What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

This may be caused by difficulties digesting certain substances, such as lactose. However, no allergic reaction takes place.

Important differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance include:

  1. you need to eat a larger quantity of food to trigger an intolerance than an allergy
  2. the symptoms of a food intolerance generally happen several hours after eating the food
  3. a food intolerance is never life threatening, unlike an allergy

Read more about food intolerance.

Sheet final reviewed: 15 April
Next review due: 15 April

Allergic reactions to tree nuts

An allergic reaction generally happens within minutes after being exposed to an allergen, but sometimes it can take put several hours after exposure.

Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis generally include two or more of the following body systems:

  1. Gastrointestinal (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
  2. Respiratory (breathing):coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny itchy nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
  3. Skin: hives, swelling (face, lips, tongue), itching, warmth, redness
  4. Cardiovascular (heart): paler than normal skin colour/blue colour, feeble pulse, passing out, dizziness or lightheadedness, shock
  5. Other:anxiety, sense of doom (the feeling that something bad is about to happen), headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste

If you own an allergy to tree nuts, hold an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g., EpiPen®) with you at every times.

Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Note: The above lists are not finish and may change.

Emerging Allergen Reporting Tool

If your kid has had a reaction in the final 12 months to a food other than a priority allergen, participate in an significant research survey. Your participation will assist researchers, and advocacy groups love ours, better understand emerging allergens.

Study more and take the survey

Quick facts

  1. Peanuts are part of the legume family and are not considered a tree nut.
  2. Priority food allergens are the foods that cause the majority of allergic reactions.

  3. Tree nuts considered as priority allergens include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachio nuts and walnuts.
  4. Some people with a tree nut allergy may be allergic to more than one type of tree nut.
  5. Tree nuts are considered priority allergens by Health Canada.
  6. People who are allergic to tree nuts generally avoid every nuts and peanuts because of the risk of cross contamination.


  1. A coconut is a seed of a fruit and nutmeg is obtained from the seeds of a tropical tree.

  2. Coconut and nutmeg are not considered tree nuts for the purposes of food allergen labelling in Canada and are not usually restricted from the diet of someone allergic to tree nuts.
  3. However, some people allergic to tree nuts own also reacted to coconut and nutmeg. Consult your allergist before trying coconut- or nutmeg-containing products.


Be Allergy-Aware: How to avoid tree nuts

  • Read ingredient labels every time you purchase or eat a product.

    What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

    If the label indicates that a product “Contains” or “may contain” tree nut, do not eat it. If you do not recognize an ingredient, if there is no ingredient list available, or if you don’t understand the language written on the packaging, avoid the product.

  • According to Health Canada:
    1. If a tree nut is part of the ingredients, the specific tree nut(s) must be declared by their common name (almond, Brazil nut, etc.) in the list of ingredients or in a separate “contains” statement immediately following the list of ingredients.
  • Do The Triple Check and read the label:
    1. Check with manufacturers directly if you are not certain if a product is safe for you.

    2. Again before you serve or eat the product.

      What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

    3. Once when you get home and put it away.
    4. Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector. It’s recommend that if you do not own your auto-injector with you, that you do not eat.
    5. Be careful when buying imported products, since labelling rules differ from country to country.
    6. Once at the store before buying it.
    7. Watch for cross-contamination, which is when a little quantity of a food allergen (e.g., almond) gets into another food accidentally, or when it’s present in saliva, on a surface, or on an object.

      This little quantity of an allergen could cause an allergic reaction.


    Common tree nuts

    1. Pecans
    2. Chestnuts
    3. Hazelnuts (filberts)
    4. Hickory nuts
    5. Pistachios
    6. Brazil nuts
    7. Almonds
    8. Cashews
    9. Pine nuts (pinon, pignolias)
    10. Macadamia nuts
    11. Walnuts


    Other names for tree nuts

    1. Nut meats
    2. Anacardium nuts
    3. Mandelonas (a nut-flavoured peanut confection)
    4. Queensland nut (macadamia)


    Possible sources of tree nuts

    1. Pesto sauce
    2. Hot cocoa and cocoa mixes
    3. Herbal teas
    4. Natural flavourings and extracts
    5. Snack food love chips, popcorn, snack mixes, trail mix
    6. Candies, such as calisson, mandelonas, marzipan, some chocolates, chocolate bars
    7. Baked goods such as biscotti, cakes, cookies, crackers, donuts, granola bars, pastries and pies, baklava, baking mixes
    8. Health and Nutritional supplements, such as herbal remedies and vitamins
    9. Peanut oil
    10. Main course dishes such as butter chicken, chicken korma, mole sauce, pad thai, satay, chili, other gravy dishes
    11. Ice cream, gelato, frozen desserts, sundae toppings, frozen yogurt, pralines
    12. Nut-flavoured coffees, boiling cocoa, specialty drinks
    13. Salads and salad dressings
    14. Cereals, granola, muesli
    15. Smoke flavourings
    16. Barbecue sauce
    17. Spreads and Nut butters (e.g., Nutella and gianduia/gianduja)
    18. Alcoholic beverages, such as Frangelico, amaretto liqueurs and others
    19. Vegetarian dishes


    Non-food sources of tree nuts

    1. Massage oils
    2. Bird seed
    3. Cosmetics, skin and hair care products, lotions, soap, body scrubs, sun screens
    4. Pet food
    5. Beanbags, kick sacks/hacky sacks
    6. Sandblasting materials


    Report a reaction

    If you believe you may own reacted to an allergen not listed on the packaging, you can report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which may issue a product recall.

    Discover out more on our Food Labelling page.

    If you are allergic to nuts, eating — or even just being exposed to — a little quantity can trigger an allergic reaction. Nuts are one of the most common triggers for anaphylaxis — a severe reaction that can be life threatening.

    If you ponder someone is experiencing anaphylaxis, call triple zero () for an ambulance and start anaphylaxis first aid.

    Who’s affected?

    Most food allergies affect younger children under the age of 3.

    Most children who own food allergies to milk, eggs, soya and wheat in early life will grow out of it by the time they start school.

    Peanut and tree nut allergies are generally more endless lasting.

    Food allergies that develop during adulthood, or persist into adulthood, are likely to be lifelong allergies.

    For reasons that are unclear, rates of food allergies own risen sharply in the final 20 years.

    However, deaths from anaphylaxis-related food reactions are now rare.

    Types of food allergies

    Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.

    1. non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system.

      This type of allergy is often hard to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).

    2. IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

      What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

      Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.

    3. mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.

    Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.

    Oral allergy syndrome (pollen-food syndrome)

    Some people experience itchiness in their mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, immediately after eating unused fruit or vegetables.

    This is known as oral allergy syndrome.

    Oral allergy syndrome is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in unused fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.

    Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn’t cause severe symptoms, and it’s possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.

    The Allergy UK website has more information.

    What causes food allergies?

    Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.

    As a result, a number of chemicals are released.

    It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

    Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.

    Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

    1. fish
    2. peanuts
    3. eggs
    4. tree nuts
    5. shellfish
    6. milk
    7. some fruit and vegetables

    Most children that own a food allergy will own experienced eczema during infancy. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to own a food allergy.

    It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often own other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

    Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies.


    The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it.

    What are the symptoms of a nut allergy

    Research is currently looking at ways to desensitise some food allergens, such as peanuts and milk, but this is not an established treatment in the NHS.

    Read more about identifying foods that cause allergies (allergens).

    Avoid making any radical changes, such as cutting out dairy products, to your or your child’s diet without first talking to your GP. For some foods, such as milk, you may need to speak to a dietitian before making any changes.

    Antihistamines can assist relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction. A higher dose of antihistamine is often needed to control acute allergic symptoms.

    Adrenaline is an effective treatment for more severe allergic symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.

    People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies.

    Read more about the treatment of food allergies.


    In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.

    Call if you ponder someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:

    1. trouble swallowing or speaking
    2. breathing difficulties
    3. feeling dizzy or faint

    Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.

    When to seek medical advice

    If you ponder you or your kid may own a food allergy, it’s extremely significant to enquire for a professional diagnosis from your GP.

    They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.

    Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.

    Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended. Numerous kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are dependable, you should own the results looked at by a health professional.

    Read more about diagnosing food allergies.