Before knowing about the allergy caused by pistachio, let us know what exactly pistachio is. Pistachio is a type of edible nut similar to cashew nut. It is small in size and green in color. Pistachio trees are largely grown in mountainous regions of Asia but now are grown in Australia and California also.
They belong to mango nut family. Some people are born with pistachio allergy for unknown reasons. By consuming this nut they may develop itchy rashes like hives on the skin. It can also cause watery eyes and other allergic symptoms. The only treatment available for this is not to consume pistachio nut in any form.
Why Some People Develop Allergy?
When our body is exposed to certain unwanted elements, the immune system triggers some reaction automatically. Allergic reaction is produced when you eat or drink or exposed to certain allergens. There are several kinds of allergens ranging from dust, pollen, chemicals and certain kinds of foods. When a person is exposed to these allergens or eats foods that contain allergens, his body automatically produces adverse reaction.
The immune system of the body produces certain chemicals called antibodies to protect the body. These chemicals include histamines which produces allergic symptoms like rash, itching, sneezing etc. Allergic foods may contain certain proteins which are identified as harmful substance by the immune system which would trigger adverse reaction causing allergic symptoms.
The response of each person to allergy is different. Some people may have mild symptoms like sneezing and coughing while some may develop severe reactions like wheezing, shortness of breath and other life-threatening consequences. The severity of allergic reactions differs with each individual and to the extent of allergens consumed or exposed.
Variety of foods like peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts and soybeans can cause allergy. One person can very well tolerate these foods whereas others may develop severe allergic reactions on eating these foods accidentally. Again the response of the same person may deviate from mild to severe for the allergens.
Pistachio Allergy Symptoms
Allergy for pistachio nuts can start as early as childhood. This type of allergy symptoms remains throughout the lifetime of the affected person. Adverse reaction is produced even when eating small quantities of pistachio nut in any form.
As said earlier, some people may develop mild symptoms like itchy skin and rashes on eating pistachio. For others it can cause serious symptoms like watery eyes, persistent sneezing and coughing. Some may show signs of dizziness, wheezing, nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal disturbances. In severe cases it can cause anaphylaxis (shortness of breath and choking), swelling of face and throat which requires immediate medical attention.
In mild form symptoms of pistachio allergy include, rashes and itchy skin and watery eyes. In moderate form it can cause itchiness of throat, watering of eyes, runny nose and persistent sneezing and coughing. It can also cause tingling sensation of lips and tongue indicating loss of sensation of nerves.
In severe form it can cause symptoms of respiratory problems like shortness of breath, choking, tightness of chest and gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may develop dark circles under the eyes and hives on the skin indicating severe form of allergy. In very serious cases swelling of face, breathlessness and loss of conscious can develop warranting immediate hospitalization.
Itchy raised bumps can appear on any part of the skin in different shape and size. Hives can form on the hands, on your mouth, on your back and on the abdomen. Stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea are common in people with existing gastrointestinal problems. Similarly people who are already asthmatic can develop respiratory symptoms like wheezing, tightening of chest and shortness of breath after taking pistachio. In rare cases it may also cause asthma attack.
Exact cause of pistachio allergy is not known. Often pistachio allergy is inherited by birth. For some people, cross reactivity of pistachio with other nuts can produce allergic symptoms. It is not a rule that people who is allergic to pistachio is allergic to other types of tree nuts also.
No biological connection is proved with respect to pistachio nuts and other nuts. If a person shows allergic reaction to pistachio it is better to avoid them in future. People having family history of allergies are highly prone to develop pistachio allergy. In many cases they accidentally eat pistachio nuts ending up developing allergy.
Pistachio Allergy Treatment
No cure is so far available for pistachio allergy. The best way is to avoid eating those nuts. Take precautions and check while you are eating nuts and fruits outside. Mild form of pistachio allergy can be managed without any treatment. It is enough if you avoid eating pistachios. Moderate form of allergy can be treated with medications like antihistamines. Minor hives will often clear off without any treatment. Avoid using irritating clothing and tight fitting clothes which can increase itchy feeling.
Over the counter antihistamine creams can be applied over the affected area of the skin. Anti itching lotions can be liberally used on the skin to control irritation. Hives would take enough time for curing until then you need to apply ointment or antihistamine lotions on the affected skin. For severe form of allergy like shortness of breath and mental imbalance it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. If you are known to develop serious allergy after eating pistachios and other nuts you can get a shot of epinephrine injection before visiting your doctor.