About Avocado Allergy:
Avocado allergies are rare. A person may have an avocado oral allergy or latex allergy.
In oral allergy, a person may experience symptoms after eating an avocado. If a person has an allergy to latex food, they are more likely to develop an allergy to avocado.
Avocado is a medium-sized fruit that is also known as alligator pear or butter fruit. It is known to be a rich source of calories, vitamins, and minerals.(1)
A person allergic to avocado may have sneezing, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty in breathing. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms.
Causes of Avocado Allergy
Oral Allergy: Oral allergy to avocado develops after eating it. The allergy occurs when the protein in avocado confuses the immune system and an allergic reaction is triggered.
Latex Allergy: Any person allergic to latex may have an allergic reaction to avocado. It is believed to be due to cross-reactivity.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 30-50% of people with latex allergy have latex-fruit syndrome.(2) The protein in avocados is similar to chestnut, banana, kiwi, fig, and tomato. A person can develop an avocado allergy if there is a history of previous allergies to latex-containing foods or products.
Symptoms of Avocado Allergy
Avocado allergy can lead to a range of symptoms from mild to severe and can affect different people differently.
The symptoms include:(3)
- Runny nose
- Itchy lips, mouth, and throat
- Stomach discomfort
- Red and watery eyes
Anaphylaxis is a rare symptom of avocado allergy but can be life-threatening. A person with an avocado allergy should seek emergency medical help.
Diagnosing Avocado Allergy
There is no specific test to diagnose avocado allergy.
A doctor may recommend food challenges in a clinical setting. During the setting small amount of avocado is given to see what reaction occurs.
Latex allergy can be diagnosed with a blood test and oral allergy can be tested with skin and blood testing.(4)
Managing Avocado Allergy
A person who experiences allergy symptoms after eating or coming in contact with avocado should immediately contact a doctor. The underlying cause needs to be determined for an effective treatment.
Over-the-counter medications are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms. In case of life-threatening symptoms, epinephrine injections can be given to avoid complications.
A person can have skin reactions after handling avocados due to the chemicals and pesticides present in the avocados. This can be helped by thoroughly washing the avocado before consuming it. Cortisone cream can be helpful in relieving skin reactions.
As there is no cure for avocado allergy, therefore avoiding avocado can be helpful in preventing allergy. Avoiding avocado and avocado-based products such as guacamole can help prevent symptoms in long term.
A person with an avocado allergy should:
- Ensure reading food labels
- Inform the staff of the allergy
- Get a written action plan for anaphylaxis from the doctor
- Learn how to use an epinephrine auto-injector
Substitutes for Avocado
There are other options that a person with an avocado allergy can consider. These include:
- Mashed banana
- Soaked pistachios
- Tofu spread
- Chayote squash
- Cashew nut butter
- Greek yogurt
- Butternut squash
- Egg yolk
If a person experiences mild to severe symptoms after eating or coming in contact with avocado, taking over-the-counter medication, lifestyle changes, and avoiding the cause of the allergy can be helpful.