Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?

One of the most common questions we are asked by patients with tree nut allergy is whether coconut is a fruit or a nut.  Unfortunately, the answer is a little complicated.  Botanically, the coconut is classified as a fruit--more specifically, it is a drupe.  Drupes are more commonly called stone fruits.  Other stone fruits include peaches and nectarines; blackberries and raspberries are drupes comprised of aggregates of drupelets.  The United States Food and Drug Administration consider coconuts to be a tree nut.  The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that all packaged food products sold in the U.S. that contain tree nuts as an ingredient must list it on the label.  This act does require coconut to be listed specifically.  Ultimately, allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, but most patients with a tree nut allergy are able to tolerate it.  If you have a tree nut allergy, you should discuss adding coconut to your diet with us first.  It should be noted that peanuts are actually not a nut…they are a legume.  Some other common foods that are mistaken for nuts are nutmeg, butternut squash, and water chestnuts.


Ladybug Allergy

Ladybugs are all around us!  Up until the early 1990’s they were actually released into the environment to protect against plant lice-which infect and kill beneficial plants in forests as well as our gardens.  In the autumn, ladybugs will swarm into homes searching for warmth as they wait out the cold winter months.  It is becoming evident that ladybugs are a major source of allergies.  This can result in nasal congestion, runny nose, asthma or hives.  One recent study showed that 21% of allergy sufferers were sensitive to ladybugs.  This is similar to the rate of allergy for dust mites and cockroaches.  While these are year round allergens, ladybugs usually only cause symptoms from September to March.  We are able to diagnose and treat ladybug allergy like any other airborne allergen; in fact, we consider them a seasonal allergy like pollen.


Worst Allergy Season Ever!

Both Drs. David Fost and Arthur Fost were interviewed recently by different television networks, and asked to comment on the upcoming allergy season.

As in all previous years, our comments remain the same. This allergy season coming up will be “the worst season ever” – at least for people who suffer.

In fact, there has never been a truly mild season, at least as experienced by a majority of our patients.

This is the time to start your preventive program for seasonal allergies, so that at least for you, this will not be the “worst season ever”!

Meet Your Neighbors -- FOST-ering Compassion in the Community

Drs. Arthur and David Fost were recently featured in an article in the North Caldwell Magazine's April 2013 issue!