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? Should they avoid them to be safe? Can they cause allergic reactions?
A: Acorns are botanical nuts of oak trees. They are not a common allergen. Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) due to contact with acorns would be very rare. There are case reports in the medical literature of allergic reactions after eating acorns. This was thought to be by cross-reactivity due to a pollen allergy and not due to a nut allergy.
Contact with acorns would pose a low risk of systemic reactions, even in someone with a tree nut allergy. Washing with soap and water would get rid of the allergen.
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.
Published October 2017. Updated October 2021.