Avocado is a very healthy fruit loaded with innumerable benefits. You could have probably never imagined that this wondrous fruit can also cause allergic reactions in your body. Avocado benefits in various health problems due to its valuable nutritional content.
Although only less than 10 per cent people are found to be allergic to avocado, yet it is not an uncommon type of food allergy.
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What is avocado allergy?
Like all food allergies, avocado allergy is a malfunctioning of the body’s immune system and occurs when the immune system fails to recognize the proteins in the fruit.
Avocado Allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction occurs after avocado consumption. The symptoms include Tingling sensation, tongue swelling, Itchiness, Trouble swallowing, Sneezing, etc.
Avocado allergy is basically of two types:
- Oral allergy syndrome connected to birch pollen and
- Allergies associated with latex allergy
Causes of avocado allergy
The primary cause of allergic reactions developing from avocado is immunoglobulin E antibody (IgE) mediated reactions. The body’s immune system confronts the proteins retained in avocados and directs the production of immunoglobulin E antibodies in large numbers to eliminate the allergens (avocado proteins) from the body. During the first contact of the allergen to the immune system, the immune system does not trigger any adverse or unpleasant reaction but during the next contact, the antibodies attack the foreign antigens and signal the immune system to release histamines and other chemicals that emerge as allergic reactions in the body.
Secondly, there are chances for the birch pollens to cross-react with the avocado proteins; this cross-reactivity triggers allergic reactions in the body when avocados are consumed.
As latex allergy and avocado allergy are closely associated with each other, individuals with primary latex allergy are prone to develop allergic reactions to avocados as well due to proven cross-reactions between latex proteins and avocado proteins. This can manifest itself in two ways- ingestion of avocado or direct contact of avocado with skin.
Symptoms of Avocado Allergy
Avocados are mostly known for causing mild symptoms and very rarely life-threatening anaphylaxis symptoms. The symptoms differ on the basis of the category of allergy an individual is suffering from: oral allergy syndrome or latex allergy.
The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include the following:
- Tingling sensation in the mouth, throat and lips
- Swelling of tongue, mouth, lips and throat
- Itchiness in mouth and throat
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Trouble swallowing
Oral allergy syndrome symptoms are mostly mild and occur either almost immediately or within a couple of hours after consumption of avocado or avocado containing product. Severe anaphylaxis reaction occurs very rarely in people with oral allergy syndrome; if at all occurs, requires immediate medical attention because the symptoms are pretty fatal and sometimes even life-threatening.
The symptoms of avocado allergy associated with latex allergy include the following:
- Itchy skin
- Skin rashes or hives
- Tearing of skin
- Wheezing, sneezing and nasal congestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Difficulty to swallow
- Hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath
Avocado allergy connected to latex allergy triggers a range of symptoms from mild to severe, gearing up to even life-threatening anaphylaxis reactions.
Diagnosis of avocado allergy
If symptoms of avocado allergy persist in an individual, he should consult a doctor without any delay to check for its viability. Besides confirming the presence of avocado allergy, one should also get the presence of latex allergy diagnosed because both are co-related. Although latex allergy is quite complicated to diagnose, yet latex specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies can be detected with the help of skin prick tests and blood tests. Oral allergy syndrome can be diagnosed very simply with the help of a few blood serum tests and elimination diet test. The allergist basically decides which test is suitable for an individual with the persisting symptoms.
There are always a few factors, which put you at considerable risk of having a particular food allergy. Likewise, allergy to avocados is not an exception.
Atopic dermatitis: People suffering from atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to allergies associated with avocado. A group of researchers in the US has proved this.
Cross-reactivity: There is a high chance of extensive cross-reactivity among the individual species belonging to the genus of avocado. If an individual is found sensitive to one species, the likeliness to develop allergy to the rest remains tall.
Cross-contamination: Having food at a restaurant where your chef is unaware of the prevalence of your allergy to avocado, might end up using the same knife for cutting vegetables that he had used earlier for cutting avocados and serve you the dish that you know does not have any avocado content. This can put you at a potential risk of developing allergic reactions to avocados.
Latex concerns: If you are already allergic to latex, there is a strong likeliness that you would have an outbreak of avocado allergy.
Allergies associated with avocado
Avocado allergy is closely associated with latex allergy. Chances of developing allergy to latex remain around 50 per cent if you are already a victim of avocado allergy. Well, the story does not end here. Avocado allergy might push you even harder towards allergies to passion fruit, tomatoes, plums, chestnuts, kiwis, bananas and strawberries.
Treatment of avocado allergy
If the symptoms of avocado allergy are severe, you should rush for emergency medical attention without any delay because you might be going into life-threatening anaphylaxis condition. Individuals, who are prone to anaphylactic shocks, should carry auto-injectors of epinephrine all the time with them to avoid the hazardous consequences. As a preventive measure, it is still suggested to visit the medical care for a thorough check-up if the allergy has completely subsided.
For treating the mild symptoms of avocado allergy, allergists usually administer dosages of anti-histamines.
Home remedies for avocado allergy
You can choose to opt for a home remedy effective to you from a wide range of options available. These options are green tea for relieving the patient from the effects of itching, hives or rashes.
Fresh pomegranate or sugarcane juice can be used for treating the ill effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal discomforts.
Tomato soup with freshly chopped ginger, lemon juice and salt can be helpful for treating all the respiratory symptoms.
Aloe vera gel may help for treating inflammation and swelling.
The best way to avoid the fatal symptoms of avocado allergy is to eliminate avocado from diet completely. One should be highly cautious about the food products they are purchasing and the food they are ordering from any restaurant. Strict vigil on food labels and good amount of curiosity to ask questions about food preparations at restaurants can keep the allergy hazard far apart.