Avocado is becoming increasingly popular, which means more people are including it in their recipes. Greater exposure to any food or product increases the chance of a developing an allergy. This is especially true of avocado. Many people have reported allergic reactions to the fruit.
There are two types of avocado allergy: The first type is an oral allergy to avocados due to oral allergy syndrome. You could have an oral allergy to avocados if you are also allergic to birch pollen. Fruits and vegetables that grow near pollen can cause an allergic reaction in those that are sensitive to pollen. Symptoms of this type of allergy affect the mouth and throat.
The second allergy is because of cross-reactivity with latex. Some people with a latex allergy are allergic to many fruits including avocado, bananas, kiwis, and melons. This condition is known as latex-fruit syndrome. Approximately 35-50% of people who are allergic to latex show sensitivity to some plant-derived foods.
Avocado Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms of an oral allergy to avocados include:
- Itchy mouth
- Scratchy throat
- Swelling in and around the mouth and throat
Symptoms of a latex-avocado allergy include:
- Swelling of the lips
- Itchy eyes
- Stomach discomfort
- Anaphylactic response
Avocado Allergy Diagnosis
There isn’t a commercial allergy test for an avocado; however, there are ways we can get you tested for avocado allergy such as performing a food challenge. During a food challenge, a doctor will feed you small amounts of avocado to see if it evokes a food challenge. While it may be tempting to do a food challenge at home, it must be done in a clinical setting. A doctor must be present during all food challenges in case a severe allergic reaction emerges.
Your doctor may also want to get an allergy test for pollen and latex. This helps determine your risk of developing an allergy to avocado. In this case, an allergist may use a skin prick test to test for these allergies. If you’re allergic to avocado, results from this test will likely be positive.A
Avocado Allergy Treatment
If your symptoms are mild, which may be the case for an oral allergy, an over-the-counter antihistamine can help treat them. For skin-related symptoms, look for a cortisone cream to help with itching and hives. A doctor can also prescribe a cream for individuals that need stronger medications.
An epinephrine auto-injector may be necessary to treat more severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. While it is rare for avocados to cause life-threatening reactions, it’s not impossible. If you do experience anaphylaxis after eating avocado, you should have epinephrine to treat the symptoms. An allergist will train you to administer the medication.
It is also possible that immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can treat avocado allergies related to pollen. Immunotherapy treatment can desensitize patients to pollen and other environmental allergies over time. It can take a few months for allergy shots to treat your symptoms, but it is a long-term solution to helping you feel better.
It is also important to avoid avocado. It can be hidden in some recipes such as vegan and paleo ones. It’s even used as a substitute for butter in some recipes. So when dining out, ask for an ingredient list.
Allergies Similar or Related to Avocado Allergy
Avocado allergy is related to latex allergy. Due to cross-reactivity, many people who are allergic to latex also react to avocado. The symptoms of a latex allergy are similar to those of an avocado allergy and can include severe reactions. If you’re allergic to avocado, you should get tested for a latex allergy.
Avocado allergy may also be related to tree nut allergy. Studies show that avocados have similar proteins to chestnuts. So if you’re allergic to chestnuts, this could explain your allergy to avocado. These allergies tend to be more severe. They evoke more cases of anaphylaxis. You should seek treatment immediately when exposed to avocados.
Avocado Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
Allergies to latex, pollen, or tree nuts can cause avocado allergy. In cases where these allergens are not the cause of your avocado allergy, the cause is unknown.
Oral allergy syndrome is a localized allergic reaction in the mouth following the consumption of plant-based foods. It is also called pollen-food syndrome because most reactions resulting from this condition, are caused by pollen.
Latex-fruit syndrome is cross-reactivity with fruit and latex. Common fruits involved in this condition are avocados, kiwis, melons, and bananas.
Allergens can be on the rind of an avocado, mostly due to pollen. In some individuals sensitive to pollen, avocados can evoke a skin reaction when touched.
It is possible to become less sensitive to avocado over time. In patients undergoing immunotherapy treatment, pollen related allergies can become less severe.
Often times, allergens are just on the outer layer of a fruit or vegetable. Washing them off thoroughly may help prevent an allergic reaction.
Avocado Allergy is usually diagnosed with a food challenge. An allergist may also use a skin prick test to diagnose your pollen, latex, or tree nut allergy since they are the main causes of avocado allergy.
Avocado Allergy can be treated with immunotherapy in some cases. In other situations, antihistamines and cortisone creams can treat symptoms of avocado allergy.
While an avocado allergy is rare, it can be serious. It’s important to always be prepared in the event of an allergic reaction. NY Allergy & Sinus Centers will develop a personalized treatment plan for your allergy. Call (212) 686-4448 to book your appointment today!