Can You Have an Allergy to Pineapple?
Allergy to food is a relatively common condition affecting millions of people all over the planet. In most cases, such allergies are triggered by one or a few of the eight most common food allergens, that include: tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. But in theory, an allergic reaction might be triggered by any food. Thus, there are people who develop allergies to fruits, for example, pineapples. If you have an allergy to pineapple, a reaction will occur after eating even a little bit of pineapple or drinking a juice made of this fruit. Besides, allergy symptoms may be triggered even by a skin contact with the fruit. While this type of food allergy is rare, it can still be dangerous or even life-threatening in some people.
Which Symptoms Are Associated with a Pineapple Allergy?
In people allergic to pineapples, exposure to the fruit can trigger a range of symptoms from intense itching to breathing problems and even anaphylaxis. They may occur immediately after the contact, or it may take up to several hours until you experience the reaction.
The symptoms that may be caused by an allergy to pineapple include:
- Skin reactions, such as intense itching or hives. These are usually the first symptoms that appear when you have an allergic reaction. You may develop hives on one or various places on your skin.
- Digestive symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea. These symptoms are the result of your body’s attempts to get rid of the allergen.
- Sinus congestion;
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat;
- Metallic taste in the mouth;
- Flushing of the face;
- Dizziness and fainting;
- Difficulty breathing;
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an allergic reaction to pineapple. It is a life-threatening condition that requires an immediate medical help. The symptoms of an anaphylactic shock include: swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, wheezing, tachycardia, difficulty breathing, blue tinge around the lips, fingertips, or toes, and fainting.
People with a history of anaphylaxis are usually recommended to carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen). This auto-injector contains a required dose of epinephrine to relieve your immune system’s reaction to allergens.
If you are having an anaphylactic reaction, you should first use the auto-injector and then seek for the closest emergency room. The follow-up medical care is necessary to prevent the possibility of a second-wave reaction.
Who Is at Risk for a Pineapple Allergy?
The risk for a pineapple allergy is higher in people whose close relatives (e.g. parents, grandparents, and siblings) are allergic to pineapple. You should take this into accounts when introducing new foods to your baby. According to experts at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), the more you delay introduction of familial allergenic foods to your baby, the higher are his or her risks for the allergy.
Specialists recommend introducing top allergenic foods to babies by 6 months of age. If your child has already had an allergic reaction, is affected by atopic dermatitis, or has sibling allergic to peanuts, you should consult with your doctor first.
Allergens contained in pineapple and some other fruits can also be found in other foods and substances. Thus, people with a pineapple allergy may also react to natural rubber latex. Allergy symptoms may be triggered by exposure to items made from latex, including hospital gloves, sanitary napkins, adhesive bandages, blood pressure monitoring cuffs, condoms, rubber-grip utensils, toothbrushes, etc.
In addition, if you have a pineapple allergy, you may also be allergic to birch tree pollen or bananas – a condition known as pollen-food syndrome. Eating raw pineapple may also lead to oral allergy syndrome that causes mouth or throat symptoms. Oral allergy syndrome rarely leads to severe reactions like anaphylaxis. Normally, cooking a pineapple is enough to make the fruit safe for people with oral-allergy or pollen-fruit syndrome.
A protease enzyme (bromelain) contained in raw pineapple may also cause some irritation on the lips or skin, but this is not a serious reaction.
Which Foods Should Those with a Pineapple Allergy Avoid?
Substances triggering reaction in people with a pineapple allergy are contained in both canned or fresh pineapple, as well as in pineapple juice. Besides, the fruit may be found in other food products, such as canned fruits salads, fruitcake, fruit punch, fruit candies, banana bread, pineapple soft drink, pineapple salsa, pineapple rum and other tropical alcoholic drinks, pineapple jam, etc.
Always check the ingredients labels on foods in question. When eating out in a restaurant, make sure to inform your waiter or a manager about your allergy, in order to avoid any accidental exposure to pineapple.
Some skin care products like soap or face cream may also contain pineapple enzyme, which may not be safe for those with an allergy. Again, remember to check the ingredients of the products you are about to buy.
What Can You Replace a Pineapple with?
Pineapple is a delicious fruit which is very refreshing and high in vitamin C. However, the same benefits may be obtained from many other fruits, including apples, pears, citrus fruits, mangos, grapes, and bell peppers.
Apple or mango juice can be used as a substitute for pineapple juice in some tropical mixes. If you are looking for pineapple replacements in baked products or snacks, you can try raisins, dates, or dried cranberries.
How Can You Treat Your Allergy to Pineapple?
Unfortunately, a pineapple allergy is not curable. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid this fruit.
If you think that you have an allergy to pineapple, you should arrange a visit to your doctor. The doctor may prescribe you some over-the-counter antihistamine medications (e.g. Benadryl containing diphenhydramine) to reduce the symptoms.
If you have a history of anaphylaxis, you may be prescribed an EpiPen, in case of an emergency.