Allergic reactions to acorns, though not common, are possible. While the most common reactions to acorns appear in places where they are frequently eaten, experiences with acorns can vary widely, even amongst people with tree nut allergies. Some can have no trouble with them at all, while other are fine handling unbroken acorns, and other still have issues but only if they are ingested. Because data regarding allergic reactions to touching or handling acorns is so sparse, many allergists see little threat to those who suffer from tree nut allergies. Other allergists, choosing to err on the side of safety, will recommend to simply avoid all tree nuts.
I wondered though, what about crushed acorns? While I was blowing off the driveway I was creating small mounds of crushed acorns and acorn dust. After weeks of running over them and no rain to wash them away, clearing the driveway meant kicking up clouds of acorn dust and debris from literally thousands of these crushed nuts. For someone who is allergic to acorns, this could potentially pose a serious problem.
As with any fall allergen, like ragweed or mold spores from rotting leaves and pine needles, a quality allergy mask is the simplest way to avoid inhaling the allergen. With a proper seal and N95 or better filtration rating, a mask can filter out those particle allergens that could potentially cause an allergic or asthmatic reaction.
So whether you're raking leaving or just blowing off the driveway, an easy way around potential hazards is with a mask. If contact dermatitis is a concern, be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves, and as always, if you are a tree nut allergy sufferer, play it safe and keep an epi-pen/auto injector handy. Lastly, keep in mind that you can always ask someone else rake those leaves or blow off the driveway!
For my part, I'm still looking for something better to do with all these acorns!
Fall is also a time when you may find acorns around the house, particularly as decoration or even as part of a medley of tree nuts for people to snack on. In instances like this, even if you are not allergic to acorns, cross contamination with other nuts, like Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, etc. can be a concern. For a very concise and well written article about acorns and pine nuts with regard to tree nut allergy sufferers, visit here.Author: KevvyG