The Facts about Carrot Allergy
A carrot allergy is not one of the most common types of allergies in the United States. Other foods, such as milk, grains, and nuts affect many more people. However, in Europe the percentage of people with a carrot allergy is a lot higher. There, up to 25% or one-quarter of the population is allergic to carrots.
Carrots are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. If your mother used to tell you to eat your carrots because they would make your eyes stronger, she was right. Not only do they have beta-carotene, they have many more vitamins and minerals, including phytochemicals, the newest nutritional discovery, which protect the body from cell-damaging free radicals.
There are several different types of allergic reactions you can have if your body is sensitive to a carrot allergy. Most happen with various other foods as well. One is known as oral allergy syndrome. It is experienced by people who have pollen allergies. If you trigger this allergy when you eat carrots, you will feel itching on your lips and inside your mouth, especially the tongue. This will progress to burning and swelling in those same areas.
One of the reasons people with a pollen allergy have a carrot allergy is because pollen proteins and carrot proteins are very similar in structure. Those people who are most at risk for being allergic to carrots are those who have a birch or mugwort pollen allergy. You may also have this oral carrot allergy if you are allergic to parsnip, anise, coriander, celery, parsley or fennel.
While this oral carrot allergy may not be a lot of fun, it is actually more of an inconvenience than a life-threatening situation. There are other possible allergy symptoms that are much more serious, all progressing up to the worst one of all, anaphylactic shock, which can kill you.
You probably won’t know how bad an allergy you have to carrots until you experience one episode. Swelling is the way most allergic reactions begin and carrots are no different. With food allergies like carrots, you are most apt to feel your mouth start to swell up. It could be any part of your mouth, including palate, tongue, lips or throat. Of these the throat is the most harmful, because swelling there can stop you getting air, and you would most likely experience immediate breathing problems.
A carrot allergy can trigger nasal problems or sinus reactions. These most frequently happen when you are in the kitchen when carrots are cooking. Some people get conjunctivitis (pink eye) from eating carrots. This will cause a runny, irritated eye. An inflammation of the gums, gingivitis, can also be one of the symptoms of a carrot allergy as well.
The worst thing that can happen with a carrot allergy or any other allergy is if you have such a severe body response that you go into anaphylactic shock. You will feel dizziness and weakness from a drop in blood pressure. You can pass out, which can result in a coma and even death. The only thing to do is get to a hospital emergency room immediately. You may have other symptoms as well, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rashes or hives.
Some people who have severe allergies carry a kit with them with a syringe and epinephene for an emergency injection. The kits usually have antihistamines as well to relieve the other symptoms. The most important thing you can do to prevent an allergic reaction is to make sure you do not knowingly consume carrots or stay in the same room where carrots are cooking. Interestingly enough, however, some people who are allergic to raw carrots are not allergic to cooked ones.