If the individual develops swollen lips after ingesting raw almonds, he/she might have oral allergy syndrome. This is an allergic reaction that manifests as a cross-reaction to another substance such as birch pollen.
There are cases in which an individual develops swollen lips if he/she has tree nut allergy. Almonds are categorized as tree nuts but they are actually included in the Rosacea family which includes several fruits. If the individual develops swollen lips after consuming raw almonds, he/she must stop eating right away and consult a doctor.
What are the causes?
Oral allergy syndrome develops once an individual has an allergy to a substance such as the birch pollen. Some individuals who react to peaches can also react to almonds. The similar proteins in raw almonds can also instigate an allergic reaction.
An allergy to raw almonds occurs less frequently than the other nut allergies. A reaction occurs once the body develops antibodies to the substance. The body generates histamine as a response to the allergic reaction which is responsible for producing the allergy symptoms. Take note that the allergic reactions often worsen every time the individual is exposed to a substance.
What are the symptoms?
Aside from the swollen lips, oral allergy syndrome is capable of triggering tingling or swollen lips, itchy lips or throat, sneezing, swollen tongue and itchy or watery eyes. The severe reactions such as diarrhea, vomiting, wheezing, abdominal pain, breathing difficulty and circulatory failure can occur during anaphylaxis. Even directly handling the raw almond can trigger a skin rash, swelling and itchiness in the skin.
How to manage swollen lips
When it comes to mild reactions, an oral over-the-counter antihistamine can be used to minimize the histamine response. In severe reactions, an injection of epinephrine might be required to minimize the reaction.
Considerations to bear in mind
If the individual ends up with a severe allergic reaction after ingesting raw almonds, it is vital to have an injectable epinephrine on hand at all times. It is vital to carefully read all the food labels for sources of almonds as well as eliminate all tree nuts from the diet unless allergy testing has established that the individual is not allergic to them.
Certain foods that trigger oral allergy syndrome can trigger a reaction only when eating raw foods. The heat-processed almonds might not cause a reaction but it is vital to avoid eating them unless allowed by the doctor. In some cases, it is recommended to avoid nuts completely whether raw or cooked.