Is it possible to be allergic to the hull of a nut, but not the nut itself? My husband "got into" something, and in a little over twenty-four hours he had hives on his face, and then his eyes swelled shut.The only thing we can think of is: We have black walnut trees in our yard. I asked him how to get the green hull off the walnut. He took one off the tree, and broke it open. That is the only thing he did differently in weeks. Just curious.
It is possible for one to be allergic to walnut hull and not be allergic to walnuts.But this is not always so.Allergic reaction is a mismatched antigen-antibody reaction.So when people show allergy towards walnut hull,at other times they may show allergy towards walnuts(eating,touching),its pollen and even other foods and nuts which are related to walnuts.This is called cross reactivity. The Walnut tree nut contains a lipid transfer protein allergen (LTP).In whatever foods,this antigen is present ,one may show allergies to that.
You can confirm if your husband is having allergies to walnuts or only its hull be getting skin allergy tests and blood tests like RAST done from an allergy specialist.
For the treatment of hives, use oral antihistaminics like benadryl or zyrtec.They are available over the counter.Sometimes they are required for prolonged periods(>6 weeks). Short courses of oral cortisone or steroids are taken for short periods (one to three days) to settle more severe symptoms.
Your husband may take Vitamin C along with the prescribed treatment. Vitamin C is a general anti-allergy supplement. It helps stabilize mast cells so they are less likely to release histamine.Application of mild steroids or calamine on the itchy areas also helps.
If the symptoms persist, then you can consult an immunologist. He may start with immunosuppressive drugs.
If the hives don’t go after 6 wks of treatment also, then it can be a case of chronic urticaria which needs further evaluation as it may be due to auto antibodies.
Take care and pls do keep me posted on how your husband is doing.
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