Coconut Allergy Symptoms
Coconut is a fiber enriched fruit which contains a lot of nutrients in the form of fat and oil. Coconut allergy is caused because coconuts may have some allergen which can be allergic for your body. In such a case, the body treats such allergens as foreign elements and releases histamine to fight them. The following article tells about coconut allergy symptoms and more in detail about this allergy.
Symptoms of Coconut Allergy
The symptoms of coconut allergy include:
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Red, sore and itchy eyes
• Formation of hives on the skin
• Itching and red spots on the skin
• Vomiting, nausea and diarrhea
• Sneezing, wheezing and other asthma-like symptoms
• Sinus pain
• Itchy mouth
• Problems in breathing
• Redness on your face
• Abdominal pain
• Low blood pressure
• Disturbances while sleeping
• Light headedness
In extreme cases, anaphylaxis may develop. It is a condition characterized by shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, and drop in blood pressure, wheezing, skin turning blue, confusion and loss of consciousness. This is primarily caused from inflammation of airways causing constriction
More on Coconut Allergy
Coconut allergy is relatively uncommon in the West. It is a tropical food and consumed a lot more in the Asian countries. It is an intrinsic part of a lot of oriental cuisine. However, in the West too, allergic reactions or contact dermatitis caused from exposure to products containing coconut extract is common. Sensitisation to coconut pollen have also been reported.
Coconut , as far as biological symmetry goes, is very different from any nut, be it tree nuts or peanuts. The inclusion of the word “nut” not necessarily implies that coco-nut will stimulate an allergic response in people allergic to peanut or tree nuts.
Compared to the incidence of allergies experienced to peanut and tree nuts (relatively common), this allergy (very rare) would imply that the probabilities of it in an individual suffering from allergies to peanut or tree nuts is very low, so much so that allergy testing to coconut is not considered as routine. At the present time, there are no published studies with results explaining how often people allergic to peanut or tree nuts also suffer from allergies to coconut.
Inspite of all the above facts and the low frequency of the said allergy, the Food and Drug Administration have recognized coconut as a tree nut in October, 2006. And the FDA stipulates that coconut must be disclosed as a possible allergen also. A history of nut allergies can make one predisposed to the said allergy. There is reported evidence of cross reactivity between coconuts and walnuts as well as hazelnuts.
What causes coconut allergy?
Coconut or edibles derived from it can cause allergies on ingestion. They are also present in a lot of cosmetics like creams, moisturizers, shampoos, cleansers and hand washes.
It is essentially Type 1 hypersensitivity. The immune system in hypersensitive individuals treats the proteins in coconut as a threat and starts producing antibodies to fight it. These antibodies are known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies react with the proteins in coconut and starts binding with them. It starts to irritate the mast cells along the lining of the skin, gut and pharynx. The mast cells repond by releasing a chemical, histamine. Histamine causes the adverse physical reactions in the body like dilating blood vessels, irritating nerve endings etc. This is what causes the superficial skin reactions like hives or inflammation of blood vessels causing angioedema etc.
Treatment of Coconut Allergy
• Avoid the allergen in the first place. In case of inadvertent exposure, treatment depends on the severity and nature of the reaction.
• The milder symptoms respond well to antihistamines. These drugs are meant to counteract the effect of the excess histamine in the body.
• The skin reactions could be treated with corticosteroid ointments in cases when they persist longer and are treatment resistant. However, corticosteroids are not meant for prolonged use.
• In severe reactions like anaphylaxis, an emergency dose of the drug epinephrine needs to be administered. The reactions may require the intervention of emergency medical professionals. It is very important that the treatment is given on time, otherwise the situation has the potential of becoming fatal.
Prevention of Coconut Allergy
There are a few simple steps which can be followed to prevent coconut allergy. These are:
• Be careful while taking any packaged food. It is advisable to go through the ingredients of the food items before purchasing anything. In case the item contains coconut, avoid it.
• Similarly, most baked items usually contain coconut. Before having any one of them make sure that the basic ingredient does not contain coconut.
• If you are allergic to coconut you must avoid coconut oil too. So it is advisable to keep a distance from those ingredients which are prepared in coconut oil.
• If you are allergic to coconut and you are a woman then you must purchase your cosmetics also very carefully.
• Those cosmetics which have coconut as an ingredient must be avoided. Cosmetic products such as lip balm and hair oil usually have coconut oil, so be careful while purchasing them.
This is all about coconut allergy in detail.