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Peanut & Tree Nut

Half of Those With Allergic Kids Can’t Identify Nuts

NEWS RELEASE from Ohio State University, March 15,2012
Related: Slideshow on nut types and allergies. Click here.

Adults and children in a recent study could correctly identify, on average, fewer than half of an assortment of the peanuts and tree nuts that are among the most common food allergens in the
United States.

Parents of children with peanut and tree nut allergies did no better at identifying the samples in the survey than did parents of children without this food allergy. And only half of participants with a peanut or tree-nut allergy correctly identified all forms of the nuts to which they were allergic.

The 19 samples included various nuts in and out of the shell, and some were chopped, sliced or diced just as they appear on grocery store shelves.

The findings suggest that education about the appearance of all forms of peanuts and tree nuts is an important follow-up to the diagnosis of any kind of nut allergy, researchers say. An estimated 1.2 to 1.4 percent of Americans are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

“When we ask patients to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, we shouldn’t assume patients know what they’re looking for, because they may not. It’s worthwhile to do some education about what a tree nut is, what a peanut is, and what they all look like,” said Todd Hostetler, assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

The study included samples of peanuts as well as cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts and pine nuts. The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Next: Questions on 19 Nut Forms

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