Many recipes are incomplete without adding onions. Onion has a very important place in our diet. But, for some people the exposure to onions creates many health problems. Food allergies including onion allergy are similar in their symptoms and treatments even though the specific allergen is different. However, we should know which food cause allergic reaction to avoid contact with that food.
What causes onion allergy
Our body has a good defense system that attacks the foreign invaders, which may cause trouble in our body. But, unfortunately, the defense system sometimes wrongly interprets the friendly visitors as dangerous invaders and produce antibodies to attack them. This happens in all food allergies including the allergy to onion.
How to identify onion allergy
Conducting medical tests is the best method to identify the cause of your allergy. If you feel the symptoms of onion allergy, you can consult a physician who confirms whether you are allergic to onion by conducting some tests such as skin prick test and blood test. Elimination diet is a way to check your allergy at your home. If you feel the symptoms of onion allergy, you have to avoid onions from your diet completely for a period of time. If the symptoms are reduced after the avoidance, your allergy may be due to onions.
Symptoms of onion allergy
Just like other allergies, the symptoms of onion allergy also vary from person to person. Some people show the symptoms soon after the exposure to onions while others have a delayed reaction. The symptoms are also varying in intensity. Some people suffer from mild symptoms and some have violent reactions. The severity of the reaction depends upon how much you consume or expose to the allergy-causing product.
Some allergy symptoms that appear soon after the exposure to onion are coughing, fainting, vomiting, congestion, swelling of face, tongue or any other part of the body and rashes or hives on the skin. The delayed reactions may take hours or even a day to appear after the consumption of onion. People may feel constipation, vomiting, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and bloating and cramping in the abdomen in this situation. Some people show some severe symptoms such as fatigue, mental confusion, migraine headache and anaphylaxis due to onion allergy. The anaphylaxis causes difficulty in breathing, dizziness, loss of consciousness and rapid heartbeat.
How to prevent onion allergy
- Avoiding foods that contains onions is the best method to reduce the effect of onion allergy. You have to read the labels on the food products to filter those, which contain onions. You can ask the supplier about the ingredients and avoid the dish that contains onions, if you are eating out
- Some people are not allergic to cooked onions as chemical changes take place when it is cooked. So try to cook onions instead of eating raw onions
- Some people are so sensitive to onions that allergic reactions occur when they just touch onions. Such people should avoid the exposure to onions completely
- Onion, asparagus, chives and garlic are in a food group and so if the allergic person eats any of the foods in the same group, cross reactivity occurs
How to treat onion allergy
- Over-the-counter medicines and antihistamines are helpful to treat onion allergy. But, remember that antihistamines are used only for food allergy and not for food intolerance. If you feel only gastrointestinal problems, your disease is intolerance and not an allergy
- Topical steroids are commonly used to control hives and skin rashes. However, it is not advisable using these medicines without the prescription of a doctor
Although onions are not a major food allergen, it may create many dangerous problems in people. So, the allergic person should be very strict in prevention.