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What Are The Symptoms Of Onion Allergy And What To Do About It?

Onion Allergy as is the case with all other food allergies is a condition in which the immune system of the body reacts to ingestion of onions mistaking it for a dangerous substance. This results in a variety of symptoms similar to that of other food allergies like swelling, itching, vomiting, and problems with breathing. Since onions are something which is used in almost all foods that are cooked thus it is quite a difficult thing to avoid. This makes it all the more important for people to be thoroughly informed whether they are allergic to this food or not. Other foods that belong to the allium family of which onion is a part of include garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives.[1,2,3]

If a person is allergic to onions then it is quite possible that they may react in a similar manner to other foods of the same family like garlic. There are also some plants that belong to the same family as the onions and if exposed to them people with onion allergy may start having the same reaction as they have when ingesting onions. Once a person finds out that he or she is allergic to onions then the best way to avoid symptoms is to stay away from these foods.[1,2,3]

Additionally, there are also some medications that can be taken which will be detailed below in the article. This can be taken over the counter or in severe cases prescribed by a physician. However, it is always best to consult with a doctor if anyone suspects that he or she has an allergy to onions.[1,2,3] This article speaks about the symptoms of onion allergy and what are the best treatment options available for it.

How To Tell Whether It Is Onion Insensitivity Or Allergy?

It is quite common for people to misinterpret food insensitivity to allergy. Thus it is important to understand the difference between insensitivity and intolerance to allergy. The primary difference between these two is that while allergy involves the immune system of the body, food insensitivity involves the digestive system.[3]

When a person has an allergy to any food, then the immune system of the body perceives the specific food as a potential threat and releases IgE antibodies which produce the symptoms seen with an allergic reaction. This process is repeated every time the person is exposed to that particular food.[2]

Food insensitivity on the other hand is described as an inability of the digestive system to digest a particular food. This leads to certain symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and bloating. This may happen instantly when eating that particular food or may be experienced some hours after eating. Food insensitivity can never be life threatening but a food allergy can have potentially serious symptoms.[2]

Additionally, if just a small amount of the offending food is ingested then there may be no symptoms in people with food insensitivity but may trigger severe symptoms in people with food allergy.[2]

What Are The Symptoms Of Onion Allergy?

What Are The Symptoms Of Onion Allergy?

It normally takes about a couple of hours for the person with Onion Allergy to start having symptoms. These symptoms will include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headache, swelling of the face, lips and throat, development of rashes.[2,3]

In cases of the symptoms getting severe, the person may start having trouble breathing. He or she may complain of pain in the stomach or abdomen. There will be severe bouts of coughing along with a tingling sensation in the mouth. In rare cases, the person may even faint or have an anaphylactic reaction which at times can be life threatening.[2,3]

What Can Be Done About Onion Allergy?

Food allergies do not have a specific treatment or cure and thus avoidance is the best strategy to keep the symptoms of Onion Allergy at bay. The FDA has made it mandatory for food manufacturers to list out the ingredients in their products. Thus when buying food from the supermarket, people with Onion Allergy should ensure that none of the products they are allergic to are in the list of ingredients.[2,3]

In some people even inhalation of the fumes that come out when cooking onions can trigger an allergic reaction. Thus care should be taken when in and around kitchen especially when the food that is being prepared has onion in it. It is also essential for people with onion allergy to avoid eating food that have ingredients like onion powder. It is also important for people with onion allergy to be careful when eating out in a restaurant not to share food that may have onion in it.[2,3]

Carrying EpiPen autoinjector for emergency purposes is mandatory for people with Onion Allergy in cases of a severe allergic reaction. Another way to treat the symptoms of Onion Allergy is by way of antihistamines. These medications work by inhibiting the production of histamines which is responsible for the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Reducing the production of histamines helps in calming down the symptoms of Onion Allergy.[2,3]

In conclusion, Onion Allergy as is the case with allergies due to other food products is a condition in which a person starts having an allergic reaction after consuming onion or food products containing onions. Primary symptoms of an Onion Allergy include rashes, itching, bouts of coughing, severe headache, and swelling of the lips and throat, and rarely unconsciousness and even anaphylaxis.[1,2,3]

Since Onion Allergy can trigger potentially serious symptoms, it is important to consult with a physician if someone is even slightly suspicious of this condition. Since food allergies do not have a cure, it is best to avoid foods that contain onions in any form. Additionally, people with onion Allergy should always an EpiPen autoinjector to use in case of a sudden allergic reaction.[1,2,3]

In case of an anaphylactic reaction due to onion allergy, it is recommended to go straight to the emergency room for treatment as it is a life threatening condition and should be looked upon immediately. Antihistamines are also quite effective in calming down the symptoms and thus are a good choice for treating Onion Allergy.[1,2,3]


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 25, 2021

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