Avocado Allergy Symptoms
Avocado allergies aren’t all that common, but for those who have this allergy, the symptoms can range from mild to severe, including the life-threatening condition anaphylaxis.
Because there’s more than one type of avocado allergy and the symptoms can vary greatly in type and severity from person to person, it’s important to have a doctor, allergist or immunologist diagnose this allergy.
Also, since other medical conditions or food allergies can cause similar symptoms, you will want to have those ruled out to determine if you are in fact allergic to avocados.
Many people who have an avocado allergy are also allergic to latex, as well as foods such as bananas, kiwis, tomatoes, papaya and chestnuts. Like the avocado allergy, being allergic to latex or any of these other foods is something you’ll want to explore to avoid any serious health problems or reactions.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
The least severe type of avocado allergy is connected to Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).
In Oral Allergy Syndrome, the body reacts to foods that contain certain proteins in a similar way that it does with allergens like pollen.
Interestingly, there’s a link between various pollen allergies and OAS. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states: “up to a third of pollen allergy patients may be affected.” (1)
Symptoms of an OAS response to avocados are usually limited to the lips, mouth and throat and can include:
- Itchy Eyes
- Watery Eyes
- Itchy Mouth
- Itchy Throat
- Swelling of mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat
These symptoms usually appear rather quickly, but can sometimes happen an hour or more after consuming avocado or products containing avocado, such as guacamole.
A very small percentage of people with Oral Allergy Syndrome can get anaphylaxis, which is a very serious allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention because it can be deadly.
The Latex-Avocado Allergy Connection
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that approximately 50% of people who are allergic to latex are also allergic to avocados. People with latex allergies may also have allergies to other foods such as bananas, chestnuts, kiwis and tomatoes. (2)
According to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, some of the symptoms of a latex allergy can include a skin rash, hives, eye tearing, sneezing, congestion, wheezing and itching. (3)
Latex allergies can range from mild to life-threatening, so if you find out you’re allergic to avocados, it’s important to see a doctor to find out if you have a latex allergy too.
Even if you're not allergic to latex, you can still have symptoms related to the latex version of the avocado allergy.
Some Symptoms of a Latex-Related Avocado Allergy:
- Itchy throat or eyes
- Hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
If You Have or Might Have an Avocado Allergy
If you suspect you’re allergic to avocados, stop eating avocados and any avocado-based products, make a list of the symptoms you’ve experienced, and see your doctor to get tested.
A doctor, allergist or immunologist will be able to determine if you have an avocado allergy and test you for other related allergies (like latex or other fruits and nuts) that you might not be aware of.
Depending on the type and severity of your allergy, you may need to just avoid eating avocados or in more severe cases, wear a medical alert bracelet or carry an EpiPen.
If you’re extremely allergic to avocados, be aware avocados and avocado oils are used in all sorts of products like salad dressings, guacamole, breads, salsas, soups, oils and even in some soap and facial care products.
My Experience with an Avocado Allergy
For years, I didn’t know I was allergic to avocados. I only occasionally ate foods containing avocado (like guacamole), but each time I got severe nausea and felt like I could throw up. Since I had no idea avocados were something people could be allergic to, I thought my symptoms were from food poisoning or possibly from other foods I ate along with the avocado. (Like the refried beans in a burrito or nachos at a Mexican restaurant.) Unlike some people with avocado allergies, I don’t have a latex allergy but I am allergic to bananas.
What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a sudden, extreme form of an allergic reaction that affects the whole body. This reaction can include some, but not necessarily all of the following symptoms: Rash, swelling of mouth, throat or tongue, trouble swallowing, skin flushing, slurred speech, cough, mental confusion, change in heart rate, abdominal pain, collapse and unconsciousness.
If you believe you or someone else is having this type of reaction, seek immediate medical attention or call 911.
Sources Referenced in this Article:
(1) Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America – Oral Allergy Syndrome
(2) American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology – Latex Allergy
(3) Cleveland Clinic Foundation – Latex Allergy
Resources for Further Information
© 2013 carolynkaye
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