Corn allergy arises once the immune system wrongly identifies corn or corn-related product as a threat. As a response of the body, it releases antibodies to neutralize the allergen. The immune system releases histamine and other chemicals which triggers the allergy symptoms.
This type of allergy is considered uncommon. A reaction might arise if exposed to corn or corn products such as vegetable oil, high-fructose corn syrup or cornstarch.
What are the signs?
An allergic reaction to corn tends to vary. The reaction might be uncomfortable for some individuals. In some, a reaction can be severe and even dangerous.
The signs typically arise in just minutes or up to 2 hours after ingesting corn or corn products and might include:
- Hives or rashes
- Tingling or itchiness in the mouth
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing with nasal congestion or wheezing
- Swollen lips, tongue, face or throat
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
Am I at risk for a severe reaction?
A severe allergic reaction to corn can lead to anaphylaxis. The indications of this severe form of corn allergy include:
- Rapid and erratic pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing due to a swollen throat and air passages
It is vital to seek immediate medical care if an individual is suspected with a severe reaction.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be consulted if any signs of corn allergy are present. The doctor will take a history of the symptoms and family as well as note down if there is a history of eczema or asthma.
A physical exam is also carried out and certain tests such as a blood test might be recommended.
Management of corn allergy
The signs of corn allergy can be prevented by preparing your own food. When eating outside, the individual should ask the server about the ingredients used in the dishes and the food preparation process.
If an individual has corn allergy, avoidance might not be enough. Corn products such as corn starch might be hidden in food or added as sweeteners in beverages. It is vital to carefully read all the food labels.