Did You Know?
Although nearly any food can trigger an allergy, only eight foods (wheat, fish, shellfish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and egg) account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions in the United States. About 3% of the US population is allergic to onions.
A person is said to be allergic to a particular food if his body reacts in an undesirable manner every time he eats that food. In case of onion allergy, the immune system of the person reacts abnormally to the protein in onions. It identifies the protein as a dangerous substance and tries to destroy it. It produces antibodies called IgE, which react against the protein in the vegetable. To protect the body from this strange situation, an excessive amount of histamine is produced in the gut, pharynx, and skin. As the body reacts adversely to too much of histamine, the person starts sneezing or has skin rashes, sore throat, and watery eyes. This is described as an allergic reaction. It has been noticed that raw onions are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than cooked ones. Though, allergy to onions is not as common as peanut or shellfish allergy.
Allergy and Intolerance
Although the symptoms of onion allergy and intolerance are almost similar, allergy symptoms are usually noticed quickly, sometimes within a minute after consumption of onions. Sometimes, the reaction can be severe and life-threatening too. In case of onion intolerance, the reaction is relatively mild and slow. The person may suffer from stomach upset, stomach cramps, bloating, swelling of the face, diarrhea, etc. The symptoms may not be noticed immediately. They can even be noticed one day after consumption of onions.
Common Onion Allergy Symptoms
✦ Sneezing, runny nose
✦ Sinus pain
✦ A sore throat, cough
✦ Difficulty sleeping
✦ Rashes, itchy reddened skin, dry skin flakes
✦ Itchy, watery eyes
✦ A headache
✦ Skin inflammation, swelling
✦ Facial flushing
✦ Bloating, excess gas, diarrhea
✦ Heartburn, acid reflux
✦ Nausea and vomiting
✦ Burning sensation in the mouth
✦ Skin Hives
✦ Swollen lips and tongue
✦ Mouth, tongue, and gum blisters
✦ Puffy eyes
✦ Swelling of the throat, difficulty swallowing
✦ Difficulty breathing
✦ Chest tightness
✦ A metallic taste in the mouth
✦ Anaphylaxis (rare): It is a rare (when it comes to onion allergy) but an acute reaction which seriously affects the breathing and heart rate of an individual. The person cannot breathe easily. His/her blood pressure drops and he/she faints. He or she may feel dizzy and may not be able to describe what is happening to himself/herself. It is a serious medical condition.
Onion Allergy Cure
✦ In most cases, antihistamines help relieve the allergy symptoms in a short period of time.
✦ Over-the-counter antihistamines can be taken to get rid of mild symptoms.
✦ Doctors usually prescribe steroids for serious allergic reactions. As steroids come with serious side effects, instructions regarding dosage and the time period for which they are to be taken should be followed strictly.
✦ Those who have been diagnosed with onion allergy should always carry antihistamines with them. If they feel that the food consumed has triggered the allergy, then they should immediately take the medicine.
( Read More Tomato Allergy: Symptoms, Test, and Treatment )
✦ Ointments and corticosteroids are helpful when the symptoms are limited to skin reactions like rashes or boils.
✦ Aloe vera gel, when applied topically, can help soothe the burning sensation on the skin. This is one of the best home remedies for skin rash.
✦ The allergy may aggravate the symptoms of asthma. One who experiences breathing difficulty after being exposed to onions can use an albuterol inhaler. It would help alleviate the symptoms.
✦ Foods like almonds can neutralize stomach acids and can help lower symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux.
✦ Avoiding onions would be the best treatment, as it would help eradicate the root cause of the allergy. Those who are allergic to onions need to take precautions while choosing their food in restaurants or in supermarkets. They should read the labels or menu description carefully.
✦ Anaphylaxis, being a serious medical condition, one should seek immediate medical attention. An epinephrine injection should be immediately given to the person suffering from an anaphylactic shock.
The following tests can be performed to find out the allergen or to confirm the diagnosis of onion allergy.
- Patch test
- Skin prick test
- Intradermal test
- IgE blood test
Both children and adults can be allergic to onions. They can be allergic to garlic, chives, and other members of the Allium family too. Onions are widely used for cooking; it is added to soups, sauces, salads, curries, cheeses, vegetable juices, broth, stock, salad dressings, and various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. People with such an allergy should always go through the list of ingredients.
The degree of an allergic reaction may vary from person to person. It depends on how sensitive the person is to onions. Usually, the symptoms go away when the allergen is expelled from the body. But in a few hypersensitive individuals, they can last for days, even after the expulsion of onions from the body.
Accurate onion allergies are seldom seen
according to research, accurate onion allergies are seldom seen. Approximately 3% of adults have been reported with this specific allergy. In contrast, more instances of onion intolerance are observed. The simple difference between an onion allergy as well as an onion intolerance is the fact that those who are intolerant to onions may eat the vegetable in minute quantities.
In contrast, those allergic would not have the ability to withstand even its odour. We are now going to supply you with the symptoms that you would encounter if they are suffering from an onion allergy. This would allow you to spot your case easily.
Symptoms of onion allergy
There are two kinds of allergic reactions into an onion, which include internal and external. The outside reactions occur when a direct contact with onion is made or owing to its smell. By comparison, an internal reaction stems from swallowing onion as part of the diet.
Before proceeding ahead and supplying you with an insight into the symptoms that manifest because of an onion allergy, we believe it prudent to say that allergic responses change as per people.
Some experience instant reactions, while others, the signs might seem as late as 24 hours following the exposure. The intensity of the allergic reaction fluctuates as well. Some folks start to feel better after the triggering factor is removed. Rarely, the response could last for days, despite the onion being eliminated from the system.
Let us now take a look at some of the common symptoms reported with eczema allergies:
Rashes and dry flakes on the skin
- Easy fatigability
- Swelling around the lips and different body parts
- Emotional disorientation and confusion
- Respiratory difficulties and asthmatic attacks
- Gas buildup
- Loss of consciousness
- Reflux esophagitis
- Sore throat
- Puffiness around the eyes and face
- Blisters on gum, mouth, and tongue
The entire spectrum would not be seen in each person. You may often see a combination of these symptoms in those suffering with an onion allergy.
Exposure to onions may occur because of quite a couple of food items. To know how to deal with it, you first need to understand its causes. Let’s now provide you with an inventory of food items that can activate an onion allergy:
Frozen, processed, and canned meat
Onion and garlic powder
Certain plants belonging to the lily family may also cause the manifestation of an onion allergy. These include:
Treatment and prevention
Now that we’ve shed some light about the signs and causes of an onion allergy, then let us proceed to discussing how to manage it. We will explore the prevention and also the course of action that you ought to take for the treatment of the allergy.
The first important step when it comes to handling an onion allergy is the identification. If you have a suspicion that you are allergic to onions, you should get yourself examined. This would allow you to decide on your next course of action with ease.
The analysis can be produced by means of a skin prick test, removal diet, and blood test. If you are diagnosed with an onion allergy, there are certain steps that you can take to make sure that you do not face any allergic reaction. The preventative steps can save you from a lot of trouble.
The first thing that you should do when you’re allergy would be to refrain from eating fats. Preventing the triggering factor is your very best approach to deal with all forms of allergies, and this instance is no different.
You ought to stay away from all forms of onion so as to be sure that you do not find yourself at the receiving end of any allergic reaction.
Ensure you read food labels before purchase. You will need to be rather cautious with your diet plan. Conditions like natural seasoning and flavoring are an indication of the use of onions from the item, and so you’ll need to stay away from these types of products.
If you eat out, ensure that you convey to the server there should be no kind of onion on your food. Be quite strict concerning this.
It is not merely onions that you need to stay away from. Avoid all the food items which belong to the onion family.
If you do create a reaction to onions, you’ll have to have it treated. Various options are available for this purpose:
Antihistamines are rather effective in reducing allergies. They can easily be bought over the counter, so getting your hands on these wouldn’t prove to be a difficult job for you.
Almonds neutralize the acids in the gut. Thus, reflux is decreased, which serves to decrease the heartburn symptoms that could be brought on by means of an onion allergy.
You might also take advantage of aloe vera to acquire relief from the symptoms of swelling, burning, and itching. It will supply you with a calming effect.
If you experiencing bloating, you can use bananas that would help in the process of digestion.
In case you develop a strong reaction to onions, then you can use EpiPens.
For those suffering from respiratory difficulties, an albuterol inhaler would end up being effective because it might alleviate the symptoms.
Topical creams can be employed to deal with hives, rashes, and flakes.
Nux vomica is a natural alternative that you could use to get relief in the digestive abnormalities which incur owing to this onion allergy.
A response usually occurs when you eat onions or come in direct contact with you. Hence, the greatest treatment is to prevent onions altogether.
When you build an allergic reaction and experience breathing difficulties which cannot be relieved by medications, don’t wait to rush into the hospital. Allergies may result in anaphylactic shocks, which can be deadly.
Thus, do not take any chances and make certain prompt intervention is sought. Negligence can prove to be costly.