Allergy develops when your body mistakenly creates an immune reaction against a protein found in food. Almonds and peanuts are two different nuts that have their own specific proteins. Although these proteins can be similar and trigger an allergic reaction in one individual, being allergic to peanuts does not mean you are allergic to almonds and vice versa. (ref1-2)
Peanut allergy is a common food allergy among children and can trigger a reaction when eaten, touched or inhaled. Peanuts differ form other nuts in that it is a legume and not a tree nut. Legumes consist of peas, soybeans, beans and lentils, and if you are allergic to peanuts, you are not necessarily allergic to the other legumes. Although peanuts differ from almonds and other tree nuts, 30 to 60 percent of people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to some tree nuts.
Almonds, unlike peanuts, are categorized as tree nuts. Tree nuts are a wide category that includes walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and many others. Almonds belong to a plum family of tree nuts and, according to Dr. Anthony Ham-Pong, a contributor of the Calgary Allergy Network and a lecturer of University of Ottawa, almonds seems to cause the least problems of all common tree nuts. If you are allergic to almonds, you may be able to eat other tree nuts and peanuts. However, there is a possibility you are allergic to more than one of these nuts.
Almonds and peanuts are found in similar foods. Almonds are a common ingredient in marzipan, almond paste, almond butter, almond milk, pure almond extract, mixed nuts and most amaretto liqueurs. Peanuts are found in peanut butter, Asian food, peanut-filled candy, marzipan, peanut flour and peanut oil. However, both peanuts and almonds or their proteins can be found in several other foods including chocolate, cookies, cakes, pastries, candies, donuts, ice cream, granola bars, specialty coffee, salad dressings, cereals and bread. Even foods that are not made with nuts but are manufactured in the same factory that handles nuts can get contaminated with peanuts or almonds. The nutrition label lists if there is a possibility that the food is contaminated with peanuts or tree nuts. The label rarely separates different tree nuts from one another.
Although peanuts and almonds are two different allergens, the symptoms they trigger can be the same. Common symptoms of food allergy includes hives, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, chocking, wheezing, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can stop or progress to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic shock involves swelling of the throat and blockage of airways, and can lead to death if not treated with an epinephrine injection.