ACAAI: Many Children, Adults Unable to Identify Nut Types

Only half with nut allergies can visually identify all nuts that they are allergic to

TUESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adults -- regardless of their peanut and tree nut allergy status -- appear to have difficulty correctly identifying most nuts, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.

Todd L. Hostetler, M.D., of The Ohio State University/Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, and colleagues assembled a nut display that included peanuts and nine tree nuts in a total of 19 different forms. The investigators had 1,105 individuals, aged 6 years or older, complete a worksheet to name the nuts.

The investigators found that the mean number of peanuts and tree nuts identified by all participants was 8.4 of 19 (44.2 percent). The most commonly identified items were peanuts in and out of the shell (94.7 and 80.5 percent, respectively), and the least identified items were hazelnut (filbert) in and out of the shell (16.1 and 16.7 percent, respectively). Fifty percent of individuals with a peanut or tree nut allergy correctly identified all forms of peanuts and tree nuts to which they were allergic. Of 20 individuals who were parents of children with peanut and tree nut allergies, 73.3 percent correctly identified all forms of peanuts and tree nuts to which their children were allergic. Just 1.9 percent of participants identified all the nuts correctly.

"Treatment of nut allergies with dietary avoidance should include education for both adults and children on identification of peanuts and tree nuts," the authors write.

Abstract No. 48
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