Walnut allergy symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and can vary from person to person and from situation to situation. For example, a person who has never had any adverse side effects from eating walnuts might suddenly develop a severe allergic reaction the next time the food is consumed. Some of the most common signs of a walnut allergy include headache, irritability and fatigue. In the most severe cases, swelling of the face, tongue or throat might occur, often accompanied by difficulty breathing. Any potential walnut allergy symptoms should be reported to a doctor immediately for further medical evaluation.
A mild allergy to walnuts might cause symptoms such as fatigue, irritability and headache shortly after consuming the nuts. These symptoms usually are mild and go away within a few hours, although persistent or particularly bothersome symptoms should be reported to a doctor. Many people do not realize that these symptoms are related to the consumption of walnuts unless the symptoms worsen or are accompanied by more severe symptoms.
Gastrointestinal disturbances might be potential walnut allergy symptoms in some cases. Stomach cramping, vomiting or diarrhea that develops shortly after consuming walnuts should warrant further medical evaluation. If the vomiting or diarrhea becomes severe, the patient might become dehydrated and require temporary hospitalization.
Hay fever and asthma are among the possible signs of a walnut allergy. Skin reactions such as the development of a rash or eczema might sometimes occur as well, especially if walnuts are consumed on a regular basis. Many doctors suggest an elimination diet to see whether the symptoms go away when removing walnuts and other tree nuts from the diet.
A severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis might sometimes occur after eating walnuts, even if this food has been tolerated in the past. These walnut allergy symptoms might include hives, facial swelling and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis can result in death within a matter of minutes if not treated, so emergency medical assistance is crucial. Hospitalization and supportive care, such as oxygen therapy, are often needed in these cases.
Anyone who has experienced even mild walnut allergy symptoms should avoid all products that might contain walnuts. Food labels should be read carefully, because cross-contamination might occur from foods processed on the same machinery that processes walnuts. When in doubt, the company that produces the food should be consulted for detailed allergen information.