What Happens With a Nut or Peanut Allergy?
The body’s immune system normally fights infection. But, when someone is allergic to tree nuts or peanuts, the immune system overreacts to proteins in these foods. Every time the person eats (or, in some cases, handles) a peanut or tree nut, the body thinks the proteins are harmful invaders. The immune system responds by kicking into high gear to fend off the “invader.” This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body.
The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have some or all of the following problems:
- trouble breathing
- throat tightness
- itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
- red spots
- a drop in blood pressure
Reactions to foods, like peanuts and tree nuts, can be different. It all depends on the person — and sometimes the same person can react differently at different times.