Hazelnut Allergy: Symptoms, Tests, and Treatment

Bowl of hazelnuts

Verywell / Zorica Lakonic

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Hazelnut allergy is one of the most common tree nut allergies. 

Hazelnuts, which also are called filbert nuts and cobnuts, look a bit like acorns when they're in the shell. These nuts, like other types of tree nuts, can cause food allergy symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Where Hazelnuts are Found

Hazelnuts can grow almost anywhere in the continental United States, but most people purchase them in stores. You'll find hazelnuts:

  • Packaged by themselves
  • In mixed nut snacks
  • In confections such as praline
  • In chocolate nut spreads like Nutella
  • In Frangelico hazelnut liqueur

Hazelnut Allergy Symptoms

If you have an allergy to hazelnuts, symptoms can occur within two hours of consuming hazelnuts or food containing them. Symptoms include:

Birch Pollen Allergy

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a form of food allergy in which people who are sensitive to specific types of pollen also react to certain foods that are related to those types of pollen. 

Many people with birch pollen allergies also react to hazelnuts. The pollen from birch trees and hazelnuts contain allergens that are related, and so your body reacts to both.

Symptoms of hazelnut oral allergy syndrome are usually fairly mild and are confined to:

  • Tingling
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat

These symptoms may be treated with an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl. After taking an antihistamine, you should be monitored for the next few hours in case more serious allergic symptoms develop.

Occasionally, some people with oral allergy syndrome have more severe reactions that may include:

  • Rashes
  • Delayed gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal cramps, diarrhea)
  • Very rarely, anaphylaxis

These more severe, full-body reactions require immediate treatment with the drug epinephrine.

Treating Hazelnut Allergy

There is no cure for hazelnut allergy. Management of your hazelnut allergy involves avoiding hazelnuts and being prepared for future reactions.

Talk to your healthcare provider or allergist if you have any symptoms after eating or touching hazelnuts. You may need allergy testing to determine the severity of your reaction and to determine if you have allergies to other nuts.

Do You Need an Epinephrine Auto-Injector?

Some people with oral allergy syndrome have only localized reactions that have been successfully treated with antihistamines.

However, your healthcare provider may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector (commonly referred to by the brand name EpiPen) for you just in case of a more severe reaction.

If your healthcare provider prescribes it, you will need to carry your auto-injector with you at all times so that it's available for you to use in case of a severe reaction.

A Word From Verywell

Nuts are one of the eight most common food allergies in the United States and are covered by current food allergy labeling laws. Food manufacturers are required to list nuts on their ingredient labels in plain English. That makes nuts fairly easy to avoid in packaged foods.

A hazelnut allergy warning on an ingredient label should look like this: "Contains Nuts (hazelnuts)."

Some foods, such as those served in restaurants or at someone's home, don't come with convenient ingredient lists on them. You should learn to recognize foods that commonly contain nuts.

When ordering food in a restaurant, stay safe by always asking questions of your server or asking to speak to the chef about your hazelnut allergy.

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