An allergic reaction to cayenne pepper that triggers swollen lips can be alarming to some individuals. It is important to note that swollen lips are an indication of a severe allergic reaction that can result to death if not promptly treated.
An individual can develop food allergy to any food if the immune system could not recognize the protein as safe but as a threat. Cayenne pepper is not considered as a common allergen but capable of triggering minor to severe symptoms if the immune system is highly sensitive to the proteins present in cayenne pepper.
Allergy to cayenne pepper
Consumption of cayenne pepper can trigger indigestion and heartburn in many individuals, but if he/she develops other symptoms, it indicates that an allergy reaction is developing. An allergic reaction is due to the malfunction of the immune system where it wrongly identifies the substance as a threat to the body.
The immune system perceives the molecules present in cayenne pepper as an attack and the body reacts by generating immunoglobulin E antibodies or IgE to fight off the proteins. Understandably, this instigates the release of various chemicals within the body, thus resulting to the symptoms of food allergy.
The typical symptoms of food allergies include shortness of breath, nasal congestion, hives, skin rashes and digestive issues. Lip swelling, facial swelling and throat swelling are symptoms of a severe reaction. During an allergic reaction, the body releases histamine which is a chemical that dilates the blood vessels and constricts the soft tissues. Once the whole body overly reacts to cayenne pepper, the individual might develop anaphylaxis.
What is anaphylaxis?
During anaphylaxis, it occurs due to the excessive release of antibodies, histamine and other chemicals which causes the body to go into a state of shock. The typical symptoms of anaphylaxis include the following:
- Lip swelling
- Rapid heart rate
- Severe abdominal pain
- Feeling of impending doom
- Faint pulse
- Drop in the blood pressure
The symptoms of anaphylaxis usually occur within seconds of ingesting cayenne pepper and can trigger serious health complications within a matter of minutes. The individual requires immediate emergency care. If not treated, it can lead to death.
The treatment for cayenne pepper allergy that triggers swollen lips requires an injection of epinephrine. Take note that epinephrine is the prescribed medication that is injected into the body as soon as the symptoms of anaphylaxis starts.
The medication causes the blood vessels to constrict and restores the lungs to their normal state. In such cases, an injectable epinephrine should be given to counteract the symptoms. In case epinephrine is available and administered which causes the lip swelling to reduce, you still have to bring the individual to the nearest emergency department since the medication wears off within 15 minutes. In addition, further assessment and care can be provided to the individual.