It is a known fact that food allergies have been a health issue that affects millions of individuals of all ages all over the world. The common food allergies are associated with nuts, milk, eggs, soy, shellfish and wheat. On the other hand, in some cases, an individual can develop an allergy to broccoli.
What causes broccoli allergy?
An allergic reaction to broccoli typically occurs once the immune system of the individual mistakenly identifies that broccoli is a harmful substance. As a response, the immune system produces antibodies known as immunoglobulin E or IgE to the vegetable. Once the individual consumes broccoli again, the IgE responds to the presence of food and triggers the release of chemicals that leads to the manifestation of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of broccoli allergy
The symptoms of broccoli allergy usually occur within minutes or hours after the ingestion of broccoli or food that contains broccoli. These symptoms include tingling or itching of the mouth, hives or skin rash, swelling of the lips, hands or feet as well as difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, cough and dizziness. The combination or all of these symptoms can occur during an allergic reaction.
During a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, it is considered as a dangerous reaction that involves constriction of the throat, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and dizziness.
Sensitivity to salicylate
In some cases, the symptoms of an allergic response manifest when broccoli is eaten due to the salicylate component present instead of the broccoli. The salicylates are chemicals that are present in all plants. Even a small amount of salicylate can result to an allergic reaction. An individual with salicylate sensitivity will notice symptoms with other foods that also contain salicylate such as avocados, apples, zucchini, strawberries, nuts and coffee.
Diagnosing broccoli allergy
The doctor will ask the individual the events that occurred that led to the occurrence of the allergic reaction. This is used to create a diagnosis if the individual is allergic to broccoli. Additionally, the doctor will perform a skin prick test. During this test, the skin is scratched with a small amount of fresh broccoli. Once a reaction develops, it indicates an allergy.
Treatment for broccoli allergy
The initial line of treatment for broccoli allergy is to encourage the individual to avoid broccoli and any food that might contain it. In case an individual was accidentally exposed to broccoli, you can provide an antihistamine such as Benadryl for localized skin reactions such as the itchiness. In case of a systemic reaction that involves vomiting, difficulty breathing or dizziness, an injectable epinephrine is given as part of first aid to counteract the reaction. The commonly used is EpiPen that is usually carried by the individual prone to severe allergic reactions. Once the epinephrine is administered, the individual must be taken to the hospital for further assessment and medical care.