What Causes a Banana Allergy?
Some people may develop allergic reactions after eating bananas. These reactions are caused by specific proteins found in this fruit. The symptoms of banana allergy may range from mild to life-threatening.
An allergy to banana may also lead to anaphylaxis, the most severe form of an allergic reaction.
Why Does a Banana Allergy Occur?
The symptoms of allergies may be different depending on a person and allergen. While some people may develop mild skin rash, others may experience anaphylaxis. Like all other allergies, an allergy to banana occurs as a result of your immune system’s overreaction to a normally harmless substance.
Those with banana allergy are prone to reacting to other substances, too, especially to those that share similar proteins with bananas. If you are allergic to banana, you are likely to be allergic to natural latex. Latex is found in hygiene gloves, balloons, condoms, etc.
Allergy to banana is usually rare: about one percent of the population is affected by this condition.
Who Is at Risk for a Banana Allergy?
Having an allergy to other fruits and veggies or latex may increase the risk for a banana allergy. There are also other risk factors for banana allergy, such as a history of eczema (atopic dermatitis), an allergy to other foods, pollen, and plants, oral allergy syndrome, asthma, and a family history of allergies, especially to bananas.
Depending on what kind of allergy you have, you may experience different symptoms that may also change over time.
Oral allergy syndrome is caused by a protein in a fruit that is similar the protein contained in pollen. You are more likely to develop oral allergy syndrome during allergy season.
Oral allergy syndrome is likely to develop, if your skin of the lips, mouth, and throat comes into contact with the banana. The reaction usually leads to swelling of the mouth or throat. The symptoms include: a rash or sores on the lips, mouth, or tongue, swelling, and anaphylaxis (in rare cases). Normally, these symptoms occur immediately after you eat a banana.
Anaphylaxis can also be caused by other forms of a food allergy. The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction tend to develop immediately after banana consumption.
In addition, banana may also cause gastrointestinal distress in some people and painful diaper rash in babies.
Young children and some adults may develop a red skin rash after consuming bananas and other acidic fruits. This is rather a skin irritation than an allergy. If you wipe your mouth and face immediately, the symptoms will mostly likely disappear.
Is an Allergy to Banana Common among Infants?
It is important to very cautious when introducing new foods to a younger baby. This especially applies to common food allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, or eggs. Children with eczema or any other allergy are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to banana.
However, experts recommend introducing food allergens to an infant once they get older than 5 ½ to 7 ½ months. If you delay the introduction of the most common food allergens, the risk of food allergies will increase.
Infants and young children may also be affected by an allergic syndrome known as food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). The symptoms are usually limited gastrointestinal system and include vomiting and diarrhea, which appear two or three hours after you eat a trigger food. It is hard to diagnose this disorder, and even blood allergy tests may show negative results.
If your child has FPIES, he or she is likely to develop an allergy to breast milk or formula first. Then, allergic reactions may be triggered other foods, especially dairy and soy. Usually, having this disorder requires a limited diet and proper treatment. If left untreated, FPIES may lead to severe dehydration and malnourishment.
Which Other Foods to Avoid with a Banana Allergy?
Banana contains proteins that are similar to those found in other fruits and vegetables. Being allergic to banana may increase your risk of an allergy to other foods. The fruits sharing similar protein with banana include: avocado, kiwi, papaya, chestnut, potato, tomato, and bell pepper.
In many cases, banana can be eaten with no risk when it’s cooked. When you cook a banana, the allergen protein contained in it disintegrates. This means that you may not need to avoid, for example, baked goods made with banana. But it’s better to contact your doctor first.
If you are allergic to ragweed, you may experience cross-reactions to banana during ragweed pollen season, which is in the late summer or fall.
People allergic to banana are likely to be allergic to latex. Latex is found in many products we commonly use, including hygiene gloves, condoms, and balloons. If you have a history of banana allergy, you may want to consult with your doctor before using latex products.
When Is a Banana Allergy a Medical Emergence?
Normally, you can reduce the symptoms of banana allergies using medications. However, the symptoms you develop after eating a food are not necessarily caused by an allergy. In this case, you should arrange a visit to your doctor, who may want to perform special allergy testing. Your doctor may also refer you to a professional allergist.
A proper diagnosis is essential if you are looking for the right treatment of a condition.
When a child develops a rash when exposed to a banana, they may be at a higher risk of anaphylaxis. If your baby shows any signs of an allergic reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis include: swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, fainting, etc. This is a life-threatening condition that requires an immediate treatment. If your doctor thinks that you are at risk of a severe reaction, he may recommend that you carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector with you.
The Bottom Line
More than 25 percent of children with allergies outgrow their condition at some point. Thus, if you child is allergic to banana, their allergy may disappear eventually. The chances of outgrowing a banana allergy are higher in children who only experience mild reactions. Yet, there is a lack of studies looking at the problem of banana allergies.
It would be wrong to think that banana allergies are harmless or that they can go away over time. According to experts, even a mild allergic reaction to banana may lead to severe and even life-threatening consequences.
If you like bananas, an allergy to this fruit may be inconvenient for you. However, in general, bananas are quite easy to avoid.