Pineapple is a delicious fruit, which is loaded with plenty of nutrients, like B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. But not everyone can enjoy the fresh flavors of pineapple. People who are allergic to it, must stay away from it. Allergy to pineapple is rare, but it does cause severe allergic reactions in individuals hypersensitive to it. Such a reaction can be triggered after eating a small amount of pineapple in the form of whole fruit or juice. Individuals allergic to it must strictly cut off pineapple and food preparations containing pineapple from their menu.
Causes of Pineapple Allergy
An allergy to pineapple may occur, when your immune system identifies it as a threat to your body. Your immune system then produces an antibody, immunoglobulin E to protect the body against the allergen. This causes various symptoms of the allergy.
An allergy to latex may cause hypersensitivity to pineapple. Hence, such individuals are at a greater risk of being allergic. This is known as latex-fruit syndrome. (1)
Bromelain is a collective name for enzymes present in the fruit, stem and leaves of the pineapple family. Studies have found that Bromelain causes Immunoglobulin E-mediated respiratory and gastrointestinal allergic reactions.
39-kDa protein is the major allergen found in pineapples, which is responsible for allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals.
Symptoms of Pineapple Allergy
Unpleasant medical symptoms are associated with a pineapple allergy. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending upon the body’s immune reaction. Symptoms may appear immediately after eating pineapple or it could appear even after 5 days.
People allergic to pineapple go through a lot of digestive disorders and discomfort. Symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Abdominal pain or stomach cramps
Skin rash is the first symptom, which usually occurs when individuals allergic to pineapple are exposed to it. Besides this, other symptoms include:
- Redness of the skin
Individuals with pineapple allergy often have some respiratory abnormalities. Symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Difficulty in breathing or worsening of the asthma
Individuals with a severe pineapple allergy may experience this. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition and it requires immediate medical attention. If not treated properly, there are high chances that death may occur. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of face
- Drop in the blood pressure levels
- Fainting or unconsciousness
Diagnosis and Tests of Pineapple Allergy
A correct diagnosis is the first step towards treatment. Self observation of the symptoms is important for diagnosis because the affected individual is the best person to describe his/ her allergic reactions to the doctor. At the same time, it is important to inform the doctor if any of his/her close relative is allergic to pineapple. Mention if you are allergic to any other food item too.
Immunoglobulin E Antibody Test:
A blood sample is drawn to determine if a person is allergic to pineapples. If a person is hypersensitive to pineapples, the body will produce immunoglobulin E antibodies against the pineapple allergen when the person is exposed to this fruit. Presence of high level of this antibody in the blood sample is a positive indicator for the allergy.
Skin Prick Test:
This is a simple and convenient way to detect a pineapple allergy. During this test, the allergist pricks the skin with the help of a lancet. After this, pineapple allergen is inserted at the site of the prick. The skin is then observed for 15 to 20 minutes. If any redness or bump appears on that site, the allergist will confirm an allergy to pineapple. If no skin changes appear, the allergist will rule out the allergy.
Oral Food Challenge Test:
This is a precise test, which may include some health risks. The entire test is performed under strict medical supervision. During this test, the doctor will feed you with small doses of pineapple. The amount of pineapple increases after each step, if no symptoms are visible after eating the pineapple dose. At the end of the test, if still no symptoms are present, this means that you are not allergic to pineapple. If symptoms begin to appear after small doses, it is a clear indicator that you are allergic to the fruit.
- Individuals with a family history of food allergy
- Individuals whose close relatives, for example parents, grandparents or siblings are allergic to pineapple
- Individuals who are allergic to latex are at a greater risk of having pineapple allergy
- Individuals who are allergic to other fruits such as, mango, kiwi and papaya
- Individuals with oral food allergy syndrome
Treatment of Pineapple Allergy
- The best way to treat pineapple allergy is to completely eliminate pineapple and food preparations containing pineapple from your diet
- If you happen to consume pineapple unintentionally, immediately remove it from your mouth and rinse your mouth with water
- Your doctor may prescribe you anti-histamines, drugs to suppress the action of histamine, a chemical, which causes allergic reactions. These drugs are used to treat mild allergic reactions
- An epinephrine auto-injector is prescribed to those, who are highly sensitive to pineapple. This can be used during severe reactions
- Rush the patient to the hospital if the severity of symptoms goes on increasing
- Besides, completely avoiding consumption of pineapple, allergic individuals must be careful before purchasing a beauty product containing pineapple, for example face wash, face mask, lip balm or body lotion. Avoid these cosmetic products and opt for those, which do not contain pineapple
- Carefully read the ingredient list before purchasing any food product
- Avoid buying mixed fruit juices, which contain pineapple in it
- Do not drink pineapple-flavored alcoholic beverages
- While ordering food at a restaurant, ask the staff about the ingredients used in a particular food preparation, which you wish to order. Inform them about you being allergic to pineapple so that they can be careful about the food that they serve you
- If you are allergic to pineapple, you may also be allergic to latex. Stay away from products made from natural rubber latex, such as hand gloves, rubber toys and adhesive bandages
- Allergic individuals should also strictly avoid from intake of bromelain supplements. If you are taking these supplements to treat a disorder, as your doctor for a safe alternative
List of Foods to Avoid
Below mentioned is a list of foods, which you should avoid if you are allergic to pineapple:
- Pineapple juice
- Fruit punch, which contains pineapple
- Pineapple candies
- Pineapple soft drinks
- Pineapple jam
- Pineapple rum
- Mixed fruit salad containing pineapple
- Pineapple breads
- Pineapple cake