Do You Think You Have a Mango Allergy?
A lot of people may experience allergic reactions after eating certain foods. For instance, fruits are a common trigger of such reactions, as some of them are prone to causing oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Besides, those have pollen allergies may sometimes develop an allergy to fruits as a result of cross-reactivity. Mango is one of the fruits that can cause an allergic reaction. Below, you will find some practical information about a mango allergy.
Mango is a national fruit of the Philippines, India and Pakistan. Mango plant belongs to the cashew family known as Anacardiaceae. Interestingly, such plants as poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac belong to the same family.
Sometimes, people may have unpleasant symptoms caused by mangos. In rare cases, however, this fruit can trigger a life-threatening reaction.
How Are Mangos Linked to Oral Allergy Syndrome?
If you are sensitive to mango, oral allergy syndrome (OAS) will occur shortly after you eat the raw fruit. The symptoms caused by OAS are usually not severe, and they affect such areas as your mouth and lips. These symptoms disappear in a few minutes without any treatment, after the saliva in your mouth breaks down the allergen. In general, oral allergy syndrome is not categorized as a serious condition.
Experts believe that OAS symptoms appear, because mangos contain proteins similar to those found in pollens, mostly birch pollen or mugwort pollen. In addition, if you are allergic to latex, you may also develop oral allergy syndrome when you eat fresh mango. This condition is known as latex-fruit syndrome.
OAS can be diagnosed using special allergy skin testing. These tests can determine whether your symptoms are caused by cross-reaction between mango and other allergens.
Although oral allergy syndrome triggered by mango doesn’t cause dangerous symptoms, there is still a risk of a serious reaction. Therefore, doctors often recommend that people allergic to mango completely avoid the fruit in a raw form. Cooked mango is normally safe.
Can Mango Cause Contact Dermatitis?
Some people with mango allergies can develop contact dermatitis after coming into contact with the fruit. Such a reaction is often caused by a substance urushiol, which is found in the Anacardiaceae plants.
High concentrations of urushiol are found in the peel of a mango, as well as the fruit beneath the peel. Getting in contact with urushiol often leads to an allergic skin reaction. Allergies to mangos occur quite rarely, but they may sometimes cause really intense reactions.
Mango-induced contact dermatitis usually appears on the face several hours after you have eaten the fruit. In some cases, the symptoms can last for multiple days. The rash associated with a mango allergy is similar to a poison oak rash. It occurs in the form of small, itching, and sometimes oozing blisters.
Although contact dermatitis caused by a mango allergy is not likely to provide threat for your life, its symptoms can really interfere with your quality of life. Depending on how severe your skin rash is, you may need to treat your symptoms with topical or oral corticosteroids.
The appearance of your rash helps to confirm the diagnosis of contact dermatitis. If you have severe reactions after eating mangos, your doctor can perform a patch testing to confirm that mango is the actual trigger.
Mango as a Cause of Anaphylaxis
Life-threatening reactions to mango are rare but the risk does exist. In some cases, people may experience severe anaphylactic reaction shortly after eating a fresh mango. The symptoms include difficulty breathing, swollen face, tightness of the throat, wheezing, hives, abdominal pain, tachycardia, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Such reactions may often lead to anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest and death. If you experience a severe reaction to mango fruit, you should seek for medical help immediately.
It is worth mentioning that being allergic to cashews or pistachios increases the risk for a mango allergy, since those are cross-reacting allergens. If you have a severe allergy, you are recommended to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen) with you, just in case of an emergency.