An allergic reaction to bananas is uncommon but can trigger dangerous symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected to be highly sensitive to the fruit.
Is it intolerance to bananas?
Although an actual allergic reaction to bananas are considered rare, the body could not break down a certain chemical present in the fruit, specifically amines. These chemicals require the body to generate an enzyme known as diamine oxidase.
If the body could not generate sufficient amounts of this enzyme, allergy-like reactions might occur. This reaction is called as intolerance and typically involve:
- Heart palpitations
- Stomach cramping
- Breathing issues
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Am I allergic?
Even though the allergy symptoms might be triggered by intolerance, an actual allergy to bananas stems from the inability of the body to break down the protein chitinase.
This protein can trigger a type 1 allergic reaction and present in avocados and kiwis. Take note that this type of reaction is generally severe and almost immediate with symptoms that manifest in just minutes of directly handling or ingesting the fruit. Since the reactions tend to vary between minimal discomfort and death, the signs may or may not include rashes, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, eye issues, runny nose, stomach issues and even anaphylaxis.
Link with birch allergy
Since an actual allergy to bananas are uncommon, a reaction to the fruit might originate from a broader allergy to birch trees and pollen.
In such cases, the individual experiences the symptoms of oral allergy syndrome in just a few minutes of ingesting the fruit. The usual reactions include itchiness, tingling and swelling on the lips, mouth and throat. Since a reaction is triggered by exposure to a fresh fruit, cooking or momentarily heating the bananas can thwart a reaction.
Is latex-fruit syndrome possible?
Remember that bananas include a protein and potential allergen that is strikingly the same in natural rubber latex. If the individual has reactions to surgical gloves, balloons and condoms, the reaction might be due to the latex-fruit syndrome.
A reaction triggers itchiness and hives all over the body, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, vomiting and even anaphylaxis.