Almond Allergy

Table of Contents


What Is An Almond Allergy?

An almond allergy is an immune system reaction to proteins found in almonds. Pru du 6, an 11S globulin also known as amandin, is the protein in almonds responsible for severe allergic reactions. Pru du 6 accounts for 65% of total almond protein content. 

Almond (Amygdalus communis) is considered a tree nut although it belongs to the family of Rosaceae that also includes apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum, nectarine, apricot, and strawberry. An allergy to tree nuts is one of the most common food allergies among children and adults. It is often linked to anaphylaxis, along with peanut and shellfish allergies. Even a tiny tree nut trace is enough to cause a severe allergic reaction.

People with almond allergies usually experience cross-reactive reactions after eating other tree nuts such as cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. There are also cases of cross-reactivity with natural rubber latex. This cross-reactivity may be mild or severe. Within tree-nut-allergic individuals in the United States, 9 to 15 percent of people are allergic to almonds. Since almond allergy is a severe food allergy, it’s important to know how to identify symptoms and treat severe reactions.

Almond Allergy Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and vomiting
  • Rash or hives
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Itching of the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, or any other area
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis

People with almond allergy tend to exhibit severe reactions. Oftentimes it begins with a rash followed by swelling of the mouth or face and then the throat. Symptoms are often brought on within minutes but they can also take hours to appear. People who have had mild almond allergy reactions in the past are at risk for more severe reactions in the future. So even if your first exposure doesn’t result in anaphylaxis, it can occur later. 

Almond Allergy Diagnosis

Since almonds are responsible for severe allergic reactions, it’s important to get an early allergy diagnosis. Most people develop an almond allergy in childhood, but it is possible to develop the allergy later in life. We recommend getting allergy tested if you are at risk of developing nut and other food allergies. Those at risk of developing almond allergy include individuals allergic to other tree nuts and peanuts as well as those with parents or other family members that suffer from food allergies.

A skin prick test is the most common form of allergy testing for almond allergy. A skin prick test diagnoses almond allergy in less than 20 minutes. During this test, an allergist will prick the skin with the allergen to see if it evokes a reaction. A positive result is indicated by an itchy raised bump on the skin. If a bump or wheal doesn’t appear, there’s a strong possibility that you are not allergic to almonds.

This test is widely accurate but does at times produce false results. If your physician suspects skewed results, they may suggest a blood test. A blood allergy test is better for patients who suffer from skin conditions that might skew the results of a skin test. The blood test is also a better option for those that do not want to experience the discomfort of itchy skin from the prick. 

Almond Allergy Treatment

There isn’t treatment available for almond allergy yet, so the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid almonds. There are studies focusing on immunotherapy for food allergies, but these therapies have not yet been approved by the FDA. Food oral immunotherapy involves eating a small dose of the allergen and gradually increasing the amount over time. This method attempts to desensitize patients to the allergy.

Until approved treatment for almond allergy is available, be sure to carry an EpiPen or Auvi-Q to treat severe allergic reactions that may arise. You may also need antihistamines to treat milder symptoms such as itching, rashes, and hives. Ask an allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers which medications are best for you.

Almond Allergy Frequently Asked Questions

Are Almonds Considered Tree Nuts?

Almonds are considered tree nuts although they belong to the family of Rosaceae. 

Why Are People Allergic to Almonds?

Almond allergies occur when the immune system wrongly believes almond proteins can harm your body, so IgE activates cells to fight the proteins, causing allergy symptoms. Pru du 6, an 11S globulin also known as amandin, is the protein in almonds responsible for severe allergic reactions.

How is Almond Allergy Diagnosed?

Allergy testing can help diagnose almond allergy. Methods include skin prick, blood, and patch testing. Consult with an allergy specialist for a quick allergy diagnosis.

If I Am Allergic to Almonds, Can I Still Eat Other Tree Nuts?

An allergy to one tree nut does not necessarily mean an individual is allergic to other tree nuts, but certain tree nuts are closely related, including cashew with pistachio and pecan with walnut.

How is Almond Allergy Treated?

There currently isn’t an approved treatment for almond allergy. If you are allergic to almonds, you should avoid them. However, symptoms can be treated with antihistamines and epinephrine.

Can You Develop An Almond Allergy Later in Life?

While most almond allergies are developed in childhood, it is possible to develop a food allergy later in life. If you suspect you have an almond allergy, visit an allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers.