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Many Allergic Children Can't Identify Nuts They React To

Of 100 children tested, none accurately identified Brazil nuts

THURSDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of children who are allergic to nuts are unable to identify the nut they are sensitized to, researchers report in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Ronald M. Ferdman, M.D., of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and colleagues compared the ability of 37 nut-allergic children and 63 non-allergic children to identify 11 common nuts and pine nuts. Allergic children were asked to pick out the type that triggered their allergic reaction.

The researchers found that the children could only identify a mean of 2.7 nuts. Overall, 89 percent of the children correctly identified peanuts in the shell, versus 32 percent for pistachios and zero for Brazil nuts. Twenty-seven percent of the nut-allergic children failed to identify the specific tree nut or legume that triggered their allergy.

"In general, children, including those who are allergic to nuts, can identify few nuts," the authors write. "This lack of recognition could put them at increased risk for unintentional ingestion. As part of an overall educational plan, nut-allergic children should be taught not only to avoid but also to identify the nut to which they are allergic."

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