Tomato Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
If your body reacts badly to tomatoes, you might have a tomato intolerance or a tomato allergy. Tomato allergies relate to type 1 hypersensitivity to tomatoes, which are also known as contact allergies. If you have this type of allergy, every time you come into contact with a trigger, which is, in this case, a tomato, your immune system releases a chemical histamine into the area of your body that are exposed, e.g. your skin, nose, as well as respiratory and digestive tracts. These chemicals are responsible for the allergic symptoms that follow.
A tomato is one of the most popular and heavily consumed vegetables in the world. Yet, allergy to tomatoes is an extremely rare condition. In addition, having a tomato allergy increases your risk for developing an allergy to other nightshades, such as eggplant, potatoes and tobacco. In some cases, tomato allergies may trigger a cross-reaction to latex – a condition known as latex-fruit syndrome.
Who Is at Risk for Developing a Tomato Allergy?
Although tomato allergies (and nightshade allergies in general) haven’t been researched a lot so far, there are certain aspects that increase your risk for allergy to any kind of food. These aspects include allergies to other substances, past food allergies, family history of food allergies, young age, and asthma. Having asthma also increase the risk of developing severe symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of a Tomato Allergy?
An allergic reaction to a tomato normally happens right after you consume it. The symptoms may include eczema or urticaria (hives); nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; abdominal cramps; itching of the throat, wheezing, coughing, sneezing or runny nose; swollen face, tongue, mouth or throat (angioedema); or in rare cases, anaphylaxis.
If you have a severe tomato allergy, your doctor may recommend that you wear an allergy ID bracelet and carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you, in case of an emergency.
When it comes to eczema, this skin condition occurs about 10 percent of people allergic to foods. Tomatoes, along with some other foods, such as nuts, are some of the eczema triggers. Eczema associated with a food allergy normally appears shortly after you’ve been exposed to the allergen. The symptoms of it include skin rash, severe itchiness, redness and swelling.
How Is a Tomato Allergy Diagnosed?
If you think you might be allergic to tomatoes, you should visit an allergist. The doctor will perform a certain test (for example, a skin prick test) to determine whether you have an allergy. If you are too sensitive to skin tests, you can do a blood test detecting immunoglobulin (IgE) instead.
How to Treat Tomato Allergy Symptoms?
A tomato allergy cannot be cured, but you can treat its symptoms using antihistamine medications. If you have an allergic rash, applying topical steroidal ointment can help.
However, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the trigger. If you are diagnosed with a tomato allergy, you should avoid or limit your consumption of tomatoes. For instance, you can replace tomato-based sauces with tomato-free alternatives like pesto, alfredo, béchamel, olive, or Japanese style sauce. In addition, tomato bases can be replaced with umeboshi paste and tamarind concentrate.