Even though banana allergy is not counted as one of the common forms of food allergy, a reaction can trigger life-threatening symptoms. Once an individual suspects that he/she is allergic to bananas, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
Intolerance to bananas
An actual banana allergy is considered uncommon but the body might not be able to properly break down a certain chemical present in the fruit which is called amine. These chemicals require the body to generate an enzyme known as diamine oxidase.
In case the body is not capable of producing sufficient amounts of this enzyme, the individual can experience allergy-like reactions. This reaction is called as intolerance to bananas that usually involve the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Abdominal cramps
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Breathing difficulty
Close look on banana allergy
Even though the allergy-like symptoms might be due to intolerance, an actual banana allergy develops due to the inability of the body to break down a protein known as chitinase which is also present in avocados and kiwis. This protein can trigger a type 1 allergic reaction.
Take note that this type of reaction can be severe and almost immediate in which the symptoms develop within minutes of direct handling or consuming the fruit. Since the reactions range from minimal discomfort and even death, the symptoms may or may not include skin rashes, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, eye problems, runny nose and various digestive issues and even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Connection with birch allergy
Since an actual banana allergy is rare, the allergic reaction of an individual to banana might stem from a broader allergy to birch trees and pollen. Take note that these allergies usually trigger a symptom combination called as oral allergy syndrome in just a few minutes of eating.
This is quite common among those who have hay fever which results to itching, tingling and swelling of the lips, mouth and throat. Since these reactions arise from contact with fresh fruit, cooking or brief heating of the bananas can prevent a reaction.
What is latex-fruit syndrome?
Always bear in mind that bananas contain protein that is similar in natural rubber latex. If the individual experiences a reaction to condoms, surgical gloves and balloons, the allergy might be due to latex-fruit syndrome.
The condition can trigger itchiness and hives all over the body, breathing difficulty, stomach pain, vomiting and even anaphylaxis. Since a life-threatening reaction can occur after eating bananas, it is vital to seek immediate medical care if the individual experiences any of the signs of a severe allergic reaction.