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AAFA’s Ask the Allergist: Can a Child With a Tree Nut Allergy Touch Acorns?


Information from AAFA’s Ask the Allergist is not a substitute for a consultation with a health care professional. Always talk with your own doctor before making changes to your asthma or allergy management plan.

Q: If a child is allergic to tree nuts, are they able to touch acorns? Are they just avoided to be safe or are they causes of allergic reactions?

A: Acorns are botanical nuts of oak trees. They are not a common allergen. Anaphylaxis due to contact with acorns would be very rare. There has been a case report in the medical literature of allergic reactions after eating them. But, this was thought to be due to cross reactivity due to a pollen allergy and not due to true nut allergy. Contact with acorns would pose a low risk of systemic reactions, even in someone with a tree nut allergy.

Dr. Douglas Johnston is our Ask the Allergist columnist. Dr. Johnston is a board-certified allergist/immunologist with Asthma & Allergy Specialists, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina. He obtained his D.O. from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York. Dr. Johnston grew up with both allergies and asthma. He decided it would be exciting to help people with these conditions. His passion about food allergies also comes from having a child with a peanut allergy. 

“AAFA’s Ask the Allergist” is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Kids With Food Allergies is a division of AAFA. Our allergist will answer your questions about managing asthma or allergies and medicines and treatments. Submit your question on our website.



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  • JOHNSTON, Douglas 2016

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Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1235 South Clark Street Suite 305, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 1-800-7-ASTHMA (1.800.727.8462)
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