I’m allergic to tree nuts.* I tested allergic to ALL kinds of tree nuts and I had symptoms like dry cough, scratchy throat after eating some kinds of nuts. So, my doctor told me to eliminate tree nuts.
One of the difficulties I’ve run into so far with my tree nut allergy (was diagnosed summer 2011) is not knowing how to handle all the words you get on food labels about how this food was processed in the same place that manufactured something with tree nuts or this food was on the same equipment as something with tree nuts. Or this food was introduced to tree nuts once and we can’t confirm nor deny whether there are tree nuts present in this food.**
May favorite one is: “May continue tree nuts or peanuts.” I call that one the lazy CYA*** statement.
Anyways, I like chocolate and what usually comes in chocolate? NUTS! Any good decent chocolate (more expensive than the candy section at the convenience store) will probably not be tree nut free. For example, regular M&Ms? No nuts. However, peanut M&Ms? Might continue almonds! (gods I hate that!)
I picked up a box of dark chocolate truffles to try from a “high end” grocery store we shop at somewhat frequently. Anyone not familiar with chocolate truffles needs to know they are about bite size – 2 bites if you want to savor them and coated with cocoa so they don’t stick. The truffles I grabbed had a warning that said:
“Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk.” Ok I’m thinking, been in the same room as nuts – that’s ok. (Being around nuts hasn’t caused any kind of problems for me.)
Anyways, few days later, after dinner, I open the box, grab 2 truffles for a snack/to try, etc. You know, what you do when you want a little bit of chocolate or little bit of dessert.
A few minutes after I finished 1 truffle – I was suddenly extremely stuffy (I had a 24 hour allergy pill that morning) and breathing heavy even though I was sitting quietly in my living room. Used my inhaler, started feeling a little bit better. Took a benadryl. Waiting for the benadryl to kick in seemed like forever.
Sometime that evening I also used my nebulizer. (I have asthma.) Freaked out a little, calmed down. That also involved admitting I was freaking out about the reaction and then making myself calm down. Thankfully I wasn’t alone – in case the drugs didn’t do what I needed them to do. (I do also have an epi-pen per my doctor’s orders.)
Next day I woke up feeling like I had lost a marathon and a food eating contest in the same day. I still needed allergy and asthma medicine and I was horribly tired.
This reaction wasn’t severe. This reaction was not caused by eating food that clearly stated had tree nuts in it. This is why manufacturers should be more clear about food allergy statements.
This post is not meant to advise anyone about anything, it’s meant to share my experience since many people do not understand food allergies. This experience demonstrates a few things that my doctor told me – allergies are dose independent. It does not matter how much you eat, it can effect you. It also demonstrated that food allergy reactions can come in stages – there is the primary stage that is a few minutes to a few hours from the exposure to the food and the secondary reaction that can be 8 to 12 hours later. I think I experienced both since I didn’t actually start feeling normal/better until over 24 hours after the initial exposure/reaction.
*I’m not allergic to peanuts. Peanuts are also not tree nuts.
**That might be hyperbole.