Cashew allergy in children

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How do you know if your child is allergic to cashews? While rarer than peanut allergies, tree nut allergies do exist. About 1 in 500 children react to tree nuts, with the most common tree nut allergy being an allergy to cashews. If you suspect that your child has a cashew allergy, the only sure way to know is to have them tested by a doctor.

The symptoms of a cashew allergy can range from mild to severe. Reactions can include hives on the skin, stomach pain and vomiting, and wheezing or difficulty breathing. A severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening. These reactions usually occur soon after eating cashews.

If your child has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy, the most common form of treatment is avoidance. In addition to avoiding any products likely to contain cashews, your doctor may also advise you not to feed your child mangoes or pistachios, because they belong to the same family. Other tree nuts should also be avoided because of the possibility of cross-contamination.

When your cashew-allergic child goes to school, be sure to discuss accommodations such as a nut-free lunch table to keep your child safe. You should also discuss whether your child should carry an EpiPen to deliver a shot of epinephrine, which will reverse the symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

Over time, it is possible for your child to outgrow their cashew allergy. It is estimated that around 10% of preschoolers with a tree nut allergy will outgrow it by their teenage years. If you think that your child may no longer be allergic or wish to determine if they have outgrown the allergy, have your child's allergen re-test them.

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