While there are definite health benefits to drinking almond milk, it cannot be denied that for some people, it can be dangerous. Just like some people are allergic to dairy milk, there are some people who are allergic to almond milk. As you know, almond milk is made from almonds which are considered tree nuts. Now, tree nuts are believed to be one of the most common causes of food allergy, second only to peanuts. It must be said that allergies produced by almonds are actually the mildest compared to the ones caused by other tree nuts. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it seriously. To give you a better understanding of the situation, we’ll be discussing certain aspects of almond milk allergy in this article, from symptoms to severity.
Almond Milk Allergy Symptoms
Just like any other allergy symptoms, negative reactions to almond milk can range from mild to serious. The severity of an individual’s reaction to almond milk depends on the exact protein in the almond that he or she is allergic to.
A mild allergic reaction to almond milk may manifest in various ways. It could simply be a slight tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth and/or on the tongue or skin rashes. In some cases, almond milk has caused acne in individuals. Mild symptoms also include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The amount of time before an allergic reaction sets in depends on the individual. Some develop symptoms just minutes after consuming almond milk or applying it to the skin. Others may only feel the symptoms hours after.
A severe allergic reaction, on the other hand, includes wheezing and difficulty breathing. This is because of laryngospasm – when your throat swells after you swallow food that you are allergic to, which in this case is almond milk. When your throat swells, this includes your vocal chords which tend to block your airway when swollen. This blockage makes you unable to breathe which obviously can lead to death if not medically treated immediately. For some people, their first exposure to almonds merely sensitizes them. It is during their second exposure to the offending food when laryngospasm is believed to occur.
Possibly the most severe allergic reaction to almond milk is anaphylactic shock. We’ve all heard about this term in CSI and probably have a general idea of what it means. But just to give you a clearer picture, anaphylactic shock is a rapid, fatal reaction to an offending food. It typically starts off as something mild such as an itchy sensation in the mouth, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Some may even experience tasting something metallic in their mouths. Depending on the individual, the severity of the allergic reactions will increase within a period of a few minutes to around two hours. Some of these reactions include rashes, swelling, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and gastrointestinal problems such as cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is important to know that it is the sudden drop in blood pressure that causes an individual to feel lightheaded before he or she eventually loses consciousness which may then lead to death. These severe allergic reactions may occur within minutes after the tingling sensation or sometime within a two hour period. In some cases, the individual may seem to be getting better after experiencing some of the worse symptoms but later on will start to feel worse again.
What to Do
If you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming or applying almond milk, you will need to consult with our doctor or a board certified allergist who will conduct skin tests to determine if you are allergic. If you can’t go to a doctor immediately, be sure to take Benadryl or Claritin in order to treat the allergic reaction. Keep in mind that there is no cure for almond milk allergy, only avoidance and treatment.
If an individual is experiencing some of the symptoms which indicate anaphylactic shock such as shortness of breath or the swelling of the throat, call 911 and administer an epinephrine (more commonly known as an EpiPen).
It is very important to get yourself tested should you suspect you are allergic to almond milk. Some people have learned that they are only allergic to sweetened almond milk that is sold in the stores but not to homemade, unsweetened almond milk. This means that they are allergic to an ingredient used by some brands that produce almond milk, not necessarily allergic to almonds. Thus, it is important to pinpoint the true cause of your allergic reaction before deciding on your course of action.