Onion AllergyOnion allergy is triggered by eating or having direct contact with onions. True onion allergy is rare. Studies show that only 3% of adults may have this allergy. Despite the statistics, there's a considerable amount of people suffering from onion intolerance. People with onion intolerance don't show as much adverse reactions compared to those with the allergy. Moreover, patients with onion intolerance can consume small amounts of cooked onion, whereas some of those with the allergy can't even stand the smell of onions.
In most cases, raw onion is the culprit for the allergic reaction. However, onion comes from a large group of vegetables called the Allium family. It's really hard to avoid. Aside from that, onions are widely used for cooking, flavoring and preserving different types of foods.
Food That Can Cause Onion Allergy
- Gardener's garlic
- Broth or stock
- Pre made sauces
- Pre made soups
- Frozen chicken and turkey
- Onion juice
- Most processed or canned meat, unless specified otherwise
- Flavored cheese, especially Mexican cheese
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Saltine crackers, unless specified otherwise
- Pre-made pizza crusts
Plants from the Lily family may also cause onion allergy. It would be best to avoid the sap of the following:
- All types of Lilies
Onion Allergy SymptomsAllergic reactions to onions can be internal or external. External reactions usually result from direct contact or smelling onions, while internal reactions come from ingesting onions.
An individual's response or allergic reaction may show up at different times and at varying degrees. Some people have immediate reactions, while others don't exhibit symptoms for at least 24 hours. The degree of their allergic reaction depends on how sensitive they are to onions. As for the healing time, most people feel better as soon as the allergen is expelled from their body. There are rare cases though, where the allergic reaction lasts for days, even after the onion has been out of the system.
List of common symptoms:
- Rashes or dry skin flakes
- Lip swelling
- Mental disorientation
- Breathing difficulties
- Swelling of different body parts
- Gas and too much burping
- Reflux Esophagitis
- Sore throat
- Puffy eyes and face
- Mouth blisters
- Gum blisters
- Burning sensation on the mouth
- Tongue blisters
- Anaphylactic shock
Onion Allergy Diagnosis and TestingYour first priority should be to consult an allergist and get yourself tested. They should be able to confirm your allergy and prescribe some medications.
Common ways to diagnose onion allergy:
- Skin prick or patch test
- Elimination diet - a patient is asked to carefully observe his diet while eliminating food items that may trigger the allergic reaction. The allergist will ask the patients to avoid onions for a period of time and if the symptoms disappear, then the allergy can be confirmed.
- Blood test - a specific IgE blood test could be done to determine if a person is suffering from onion allergy or just hypersensitivity.
Preventing Onion Allergy
- Don't eat onions. Even if your body could handle cooked onions, it's best to stay away from the allergen to avoid any adverse reactions.
- Always read food labels. Make sure to scrutinize everything. Watch out for phrases like "spices", "natural flavorings" and "seasonings". These terms are generally used when an item was flavored with onions and a host of other seasonings.
- Avoid eating out. You can't be completely safe even if the server tells you that the dish doesn't have onions. Chances are the pre-made sauces or seasonings used for the dish have onions in it.
- Avoid foods that are in the same family group as onions.
Onion Allergy Treatment
- Antihistamines - if you only have onion intolerance, antihistamines may not work well for you. If that's the case, it's best to just wait for the onion to be expelled from your body.
- Almonds - eating almonds can help neutralize the acids in your stomach, thereby reducing the reflux and hurt burn symptoms from onion allergy.
- Aloe Vera - can be slathered over swelling, burning or itchy parts of the body. It will give a soothing effect that will minimize the symptoms.
- Bananas - aids in digestion and helps to relieve the feeling of being bloated.
- Epi-pens - should be carried by anyone who experiences strong allergic reactions to onion. People who suffer from anaphylactic shock should also have this for emergency situations.
- Albuterol inhaler - perfect for those who experience breathing difficulties and asthma attacks when their onion allergy is triggered.
- Topical creams, ointments and corticosteroids - can help relieve hives and other skin reactions.
- Nux Vomica - a natural, homeopathic treatment that can relief digestive problems caused by onion allergy