Peanuts and tree nuts allergy

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When making cocktails for others, please first ask your guests if they have any food allergies you should consider before selecting ingredients for your cocktails. Some 1 in 200 adults are allergic to nuts and/or peanuts so please be aware that orgeat (almond) syrup, nut liqueurs and numerous other cocktail ingredients contain nuts or traces of nuts.

Tree nuts include almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts. The peanut is a legume so not strictly a 'nut' but also of a different plant family, many are allergic to them. Some react to peanuts but not to any tree nuts, and vice versa.

Some people who are allergic to tree nuts are only allergic to one type of tree nut while others are allergic to numerous types of nut. Often people with cashew nut allergy are also allergic to pistachios, while those who are allergic to walnut often also have an allergy to pecans.

The term for this more serious reaction is anaphylaxis (anna-fill-axis).

Most healthcare professionals consider an allergic reaction to be anaphylaxis when it involves difficulty breathing or affects the heart rhythm or blood pressure. Any one or more of the ABC symptoms above may be present.

In extreme cases, an allergic reaction to nuts can cause a dramatic fall in blood pressure and the following symptoms that may lead to collapse and unconsciousness and potentially death.

  • AIRWAY - swelling in the throat, tongue or upper airways (tightening of the throat, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing).
  • BREATHING - sudden onset wheezing, breathing difficulty, noisy breathing.
  • CIRCULATION - dizziness, feeling faint, sudden sleepiness, tiredness, confusion, pale clammy skin, loss of consciousness.

For further information see anaphylaxis.org.uk/

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