Though it’s not one of the allergy “biggies,” avocados cause their share of allergies. And though they usually don’t cause the extreme reactions that other allergens may cause, there is still a possibility of anaphylaxis when it comes to avocados. The distinction between the reactions is connected with the type of avocado allergy, because there are two types.
According to this website, the two types of avocado allergy are 1) oral allergy syndrome connected to birch pollen and 2) allergies connected to latex allergy.
If you suffer from the first type, the birch-pollen allergy, you can develop local symptoms in the mouth, lips and throat including itching and inflammation. Symptoms either show up immediately or up to 1 hour after eating fresh avocado or an avocado-containing food. This is oral allergy syndrome and is contained to the mouth, lips and throat without leading to a systemic type reaction, which includes hives, stomach upset and anaphylaxis among other symptoms. Though oral allergy symdrome can be quite uncomfortable, it isn’t life threatening on its own.
The other type of allergy to avocado, related to a latex allergy is more severe. This is known as the latex fruit allergy and is caused by the similarity of allergens in avocados and natural latex. The symptoms are more severe, including generalized urticaria, abdominal pain, vomiting and sometimes life-threatening symptoms like anaphylaxis.
Other foods which cause this type of reaction are bananas, melons, mango, chestnuts, and kiwis.
Though neither of these allergies is likely to be outgrown, the oral allergy syndrome usually does not become more severe or develop into the latex fruit allergy. It is important to be aware of the other foods in this category, because sometimes an allergy to one or more of them will develop. For a complete list, see AllergyClinic. This site also provides other good information on this topic.
Like other food allergies, there aren’t shots available for treatment, though you can try a holistic method to relieve your symptoms. Avoidance is a good choice and some choose to carry an Epipen, especially if it is the latex related allergy that you have. Be aware of ingredients and cross contamination with an avocado allergy. Remember guacamole is made from avocados. Avocados are becoming more widely used so be aware in restaurants. Check ingredients of items you buy, and though avocados usually don’t sneak into the ingredient list, avocado oil can. It can also be found in many lotions and soaps. Use the same caution you would with any other allergen.
As has been said so many times before, food allergy diagnosis is really a complicated and confusing issue. Not only is the diagnosis itself confusing, but so is what you are supposed to do next, and also what everyone is supposed to do.
According to a recent article on npr.org the nation’s top allergy experts just looked at some of the new proposed guidelines that are “intended to clear up confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies. And there’s a lot of confusion out there.”
For one thing, banishment of an allergy causing food doesn’t always make sense. Well, it does make sense to those allergic to the one thing, like peanuts, maybe, but what about all the other food allergies out there. I knew a woman allergic to avocados. You never hear of a ban on avocados and a peanut ban certainly won’t help her. And how far does the ban go? Schools? Airplanes? Stadiums? Yes, it’s good for those with allergies to feel as safe as they can, but nobody can ban everywhere, what about work? Malls? Grocery stores? Movie theaters?
Another issue, one that has me quite intrigues, is the falsity of some tests for allergies. This same article states that, “the common tests doctors perform when they suspect a food allergy aren’t definitive.Those skin prick tests and blood tests can tell you if your body is developing antibodies to a particular food, but not whether you’ll have symptoms. The real test is the food challenge. That’s where a doctor observes a person eating the food and watches for reactions. In the case of a true food allergy, those might include tingling of the face, hives and swelling.
“A couple of years ago, researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver conducted ‘food challenge’ tests on 125 children with allergies and eczema and found that more than 50 percent of the kids could actually tolerate foods they were told to avoid, NPR”s Alison Aubrey reports.
It is a very small fraction of those allergic that are so severe in their allergy that being near the food or smelling it will cause a reaction. Again, though, for that small percent, it is imperative that they avoid. And when avoidance is questionable, make sure that precautions are taken, like antihistamine and Epipen availability.
It’s always confusing and the lack of a definitive allergy answer makes a worrisome condition even more worrisome. Whether it is reaction to reaction or some reactions disappearing and others coming, it is something that has to be dealt with in an individual manner, and that goes from every aspect from testing to treatment to daily choices. The best we can do is do what we think is best.