Along with almond, walnut and other tree nuts, cashew allergy is one of the common food allergies in both children and adults. Just like with peanut, cashew has the capability to trigger the most severe allergic reactions even if the individual was only exposed to small amount either direct handling or consumption in certain foods.
Cashew has the capability to cross-react with pistachio, thus those who have cashew allergy has the tendency to end up with an allergic reaction to pistachio. It is important to note that cashew is a hidden ingredient in common foods such as ice cream, cakes and Asian dishes. It is vital to seek immediate medical care once you suspect that an individual is experiencing an allergic reaction upon eating cashews or foods that contain the nut.
Hives and swelling
Hives and swelling are considered as the mildest symptoms linked with allergic reactions to cashew. Initially, there might be itchiness or tingling sensation in or around the mouth within minutes of eating or exposure to cashew or foods that contain traces of the tree nut. Red-colored, elevated, itchy welts of varying sizes can manifest at random on different areas of the body. In most cases, hives and swelling typically resolve within 1-2 days.
Individuals with cashew allergy might experience stomach cramping or vomiting right away as the body attempts to eliminate the offending food. The individual can experience severe symptoms which includes the following:
- Projectile vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
An individual with a swollen tongue can block the airways or might indicate swelling within the digestive tract.
If an individual is highly sensitive to the nut or diagnosed with cashew allergy, the following symptoms are likely to occur:
- Hay fever or asthma once airborne allergens are inhaled
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Itchiness on the roof of the mouth
- Wheezing or whistling sound while breathing out (indication of constricted airways)
It is important to note that an allergy to cashew can put the individual at higher risk for asthma attacks. The other symptoms of an asthma attack due to cashew allergy can include shortness of breath, chest pain as well as tightening of the chest.
What is anaphylaxis?
Cashew is capable of triggering a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. The symptoms of this severe allergic reaction include swelling of the throat, rapid pulse rate, constriction of the airways, lightheadedness, fainting and loss of consciousness.
The ingestion or inhalation of even small amounts of cashew might trigger an anaphylactic shock. It is important to note that anaphylaxis can develop abruptly and becomes a life-threatening condition quickly, thus it is vital to seek immediate medical attention. If emergency treatment is delayed, the reaction can be debilitating and even deadly.