You went to a restaurant with a friend and ordered their best sandwiches. As the waiter brought you your food, you immediately started eating without realizing that your friend was picking out jalapenos from it.
Surprised, you ask the reason and that’s when your friend tells you that they are allergic to jalapenos. You finish up your lunch and head back to work but your mind keeps wondering how can a person be allergic to food?
Food allergy is real and it does exist. It is actually an abnormal response to a certain food item that is triggered by your body’s own immune system. In such cases the food you are allergic to acts like a foreigner invader which the body identifies and fights against.
Food allergies are really common in both adults and children. In adults, the most common triggering foods have been found to be peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, and fish.
In children, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, and even milk and eggs can sometimes lead to an allergic reaction.
Apart from these common allergy-triggering food, one may wonder what other stimulators are out there. That’s when the question arises whether someone can be allergic to carrots or not.
An allergic reaction to carrots is one of the elements of the oral allergy syndrome. This syndrome is also known as the pollen-food allergy syndrome. A person suffering from this disease is allergic to certain pollens found in some raw vegetables, fruits and nuts.
When these people eat any food item containing this pollen, they instantly develop the symptoms of a food allergy such as itchiness in throat, ears, and mouth.
If an individual has a serious allergy to carrots, the reaction in them may get serious, especially if they have come in contact with its raw form. Such people and every other person with a food allergy must consult a doctor in order to find out the best course of action.
This article addresses the problem of carrot allergy, its signs and symptoms, and methods to make a diagnosis. It also explores the types of foods that need to be avoided in order to prevent an attack.
What are the Symptoms of Carrot Allergy?
A person suffering from carrot allergy is likely to observe the symptoms right after eating a raw carrot. Cooked carrots are not likely to initiate severe attacks and usually lead to more minor reactions. This is because the process of cooking helps to break down the allergens.
The symptoms of a carrot allergy range from mild to the most severe forms. However, in most of the cases, these symptoms are mild.
The most common symptoms of a carrot allergy include:
- A scratchy feeling in the throat
- Inflammation in the oral cavity
- Itchiness around tongue, lips, mouth, throat, or ears
Sometimes, the symptoms get really severe and require urgent treatment. A severe form of symptoms include:
- Problems in breathing
- A cough
- Inflamed skin
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- A runny nose
In extremely rare cases, the symptoms get so severe that the process of anaphylaxis begins. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction which may lead the body into a shock.
Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention to save a life. Therefore, it is often advised to observe carefully while introducing any new food to a baby. If the baby develops any signs of allergy, consult a doctor right away
- bIn rare cases, anaphylaxis can occur. This life-threatening allergic reaction causes the body to go into shock and requires emergency medical attention.
How Common is a Carrot Allergy?
Diagnosing a Carrot Allergy
Any individual who suspects that they have a carrot allergy must visit a doctor.
The doctor will possibly begin by taking a closer look at the symptoms experienced by the individual. They may even recommend an allergy testing.
For this purpose, a skin prick test or a scratch test is commonly used. It includes the doctor placing a small amount of allergen, which in this case is carrot, on a person’s back or forearm.
Then, the doctor scratches or pricks the area so that the allergen may penetrate the skin. If the test is positive, the patient will suffer from small red bumps at the site of a prick.
The doctor then suggests that a person must follow a certain diet for some days and keep a record of what they ate and how they felt. This information allows the doctor to decide if a person really has a food allergy.
Depending upon the result, a doctor may suggest taking a food challenge. In this challenge, a person consumes a small amount of the food suspected to cause an allergic attack and the reaction of the patient is then recorded.
What Foods to Avoid?
Most of the time, people suffering from a carrot allergy are asked to avoid carrots in both cooked and raw forms. However, you will be surprised to know that carrot is a part of a lot of products which needed to be prevented as well.
A person having a carrot allergy must ensure that the following items have a carrot in their composition or not:
- vegetable juices
- prepared pot roasts
- Premade smoothies
- Roasted meat dishes
- Prepackaged rice dishes
- Canned stews and soups
- Premade broth
- Certain baked goods
Certain personal hygiene products also have carrots in them. A person suffering from a carrot allergy must check all the labels on their face masks, lotions, and soaps.
What is the Treatment?
The best treatment for a patient with carrot allergy is avoiding carrot at all costs. The doctors may also recommend the use of antihistamines to control or prevent the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
If a patient gets a serious allergic attack that converts into anaphylaxis, urgent medical treatment is warranted which includes:
- Antihistamines and steroids injected into a vein
- Supplemental oxygen
- Medications that open the airways and allow easy breathing
In certain cases, a CPR may also be required. In this process, chest compression allows the blood to pump through the heart.
What are the Risk Factors?
An individual is more likely to suffer from carrot allergy if they are already allergic to some other food item such as birch pollen which consists of similar proteins as those found in carrots.
Being allergic to any other plant in the parsley and carrot family can also increase the risk of a carrot allergy. These plants mostly include:
People are also more likely to develop a particular food allergy if it already runs in the family. Those who suffer from seasonal allergic attacks such as asthma may also have a higher risk as compared to people who don’t.
When should you See a Doctor?
Anyone who suspects that they have a carrot allergy must see a doctor as soon as possible.
However, if such person develops signs of an anaphylactic reaction, the treatment becomes urgent in order to save a life. These signs usually include:
- A weak/fast pulse
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Difficulty in breathing
- Nausea/ vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- A swollen tongue