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What do I need to know about Walnut allergy?

6 replies [Last post]
By luvmyboys on Mon, 07-03-06, 01:46

DS#1 is a class 4 PA. DS#2, whom I was sure was allergy free =(, just came back a class 3 PA and class 4 Walnut. Now "of course" we have avoided all tree nuts for yeard but I have to admit I have been much more diligent worrying about products that seem more likely to have pnut than I have been about tree nut. For instance I allowed ds#1 to attend a preschool that had a Walnut tree overhanging the play yard and told them just not to let him play with them or eat them! yikes! what was I thinking? If we had not moved, DS#2 would be scheduled to attend there in the fall!

So is there anything specific to tree nut or walnut that I may NOT know? Such as the risk of reaction to Walnut trees? Any unexpected sources of Walnut? We have tried to avoid most foods made in a facility with peanuts but not worried about made in a facility with tree nuts...not sure it has made too much difference.

Thanks, Luvmyboys

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By gvmom on Mon, 07-03-06, 02:19

Our older son is PA/TNA. Walnut happens to be his worst tree nut -- and pecan is also a close runner up. Some places we've come across walnut was in pestos.(normally pesto is with pine nuts) Whether it be your standard green pesto, or something like a sundried tomato pesto. Also, walnut shells are sometimes used as stuffings for beanbags and stuffed animals.

As for walnut trees, well, DH's parents just moved into the Grandma's house (she's dead, they inherited it). There is a walnut tree in the backyard. Not a snowball's chance in he!! that we'll go there. Nearly had a coronary when we were there a few years ago for the Grandma's funeral. We were all in the back yard, I looked down, thinking I'm looking at really rocky ground. Then it starts to dawn on me --- standing with walnuts all around. Anyway, just thinking about it makes me think about all of the walnut protein littering the backyard, stuck on the bottom of shoes, tracked into the house, ground into the carpet --- need I go on?!!!! OI!

Oh, just remembered another thing with food. Lots of baked goods have walnuts -- carrot cake, german chocolate, banana nut muffins, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, specialty breads, etc. Other ethnic foods -- Baklava, chinese - walnut chicken, fillings in ravioli & tortellini, sausage, vegetarian foods (salads, veggie loafs, burgers, etc.) -- and just even as a garnish. Hard to try and remember a bunch of it since we eliminated so many things 5 years ago.

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By Corvallis Mom on Mon, 07-03-06, 02:34

DH has a severe walnut allergy. I second that bit about baked goods. (*sigh* even [i]before[/i] PA entered our lives, bakery stuff was complicated.)

Also savory dishes from most of central and western European cultures. So anything Belgian, French, English, Polish, Hungarian, Turkish,Slavic, Czech, Austrian, etc... has potential for walnut contamination.

Some common (but surprising) American things which often contain walnuts are cranberry relish, sweet/savory salads like Waldorf and many chicken salad recipes, and anything which contains blue cheeses. Crafts also use walnut shells distressingly frequently.

Cosmetics often use walnut shells as an exfoliating agent, and they are commonly used as filler for other things. Be very very careful.

The good news (if there is any) is that walnut, like many other tree nuts, is not as oily as pn, and therefore it doesn't tend to cling to surfaces quite as badly. We've had very few troubles with XC from walnuts. Can't say the same for egg, soy, or pn. Also, tn allergies tend to be a bit less unpredictable overall than PA. At least this has been my experience with the handful of people I've known.

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By TwokidsNJ on Tue, 07-04-06, 02:09

DS has a severe walnut allergy (and pecans according to the testing, as they are most closely related to walnuts).

Our biggest problem has been with bakery items, like muffins. So many muffins have walnuts. Or were made in tins that were also used for something like banana walnut muffins the batch before. So bakery stuff is pretty unsafe. The other thing is that walnuts are often GROUND so aren't always visible.

My Ds was also at a preschool that had a black walnut tree. I did lots of research at the time. The black walnuts are not quite as allergenic (supposedly, but who knows). If they fall from tree with green thing around, the protein is not exposed. But if they are shelled by squirrels there might be protein on the ground. DS never reacted, but I was very nervous the summer he was at camp there. He was not allowed to go to that part of the playground or touch the things on the ground.

If anyone knows more about black walnut trees, I'd love to understand this risk better.

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By Daisy on Tue, 07-04-06, 02:32

Here's a really unexpected source of Walnut, but one you might need to know since you have boys...reptile bedding.

We were looking for a new bedding for our tortoise. She needs something other than gravel, since she tends to not have very good aim when eating (think steam shovel). In the natural bedding materials at the pet stores, I saw a bag of pretty brown "bark" like they used in the tanks for the frogs, snakes, tortoises, etc... It was turned over to the back of the package. When I reached down to pick it up ...*sniff, sniff*...familiar odor..."OMG - walnut shell bedding!" Jumped back faster than if it had been a snake. Ran to washroom, washed up, blew nose and left store to contemplate borrowing Bobbi's frying pan for use on "DF" (read into whatever you may)that gave my DD a tortoise that will someday grow to 150 lbs!


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By Mookie86 on Tue, 07-04-06, 03:23

Quote:Originally posted by TwokidsNJ:
[b]If anyone knows more about black walnut trees, I'd love to understand this risk better.[/b]

My child's allergist broke down the TNs. They tested separately for walnuts and black walnuts. My DS is a 1+ for walnuts on spt and negative on RAST, and his SPT and RAST for black walnuts were negative.

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By Corvallis Mom on Tue, 07-04-06, 03:37

Yes-- for whatever reason, individual walnut varieties have evidently got rather different proteins. Kind of a botanical curiousity, really....

Anyway, I know DH once took a BITE of carrot cake which contained black walnuts [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] ...or were they "English walnuts?" Or are they the same thing? I don't know.

I was absolutely horrified but he insisted he was fine other than tingly lips. And being annoyed with me for asking repeatedly. But he didn't finish dessert! I have seen him puff up with my mom's cranberry relish though... even when she "set aside" some for him before adding walnuts to the rest.

This was, oddly enough, the last dinner party we went to prior to DD's earth-shattering entry into the world of FA. DH and I each got into a food allergen at that party.

Think it was an omen? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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