If an individual experiences an allergic reaction after consuming dried fruit, it might be caused by molds or sulfites. Take note that mold is present in various dried fruits such as prunes, dates, figs and raisins while sulfites are used as preservative in dried fruit. Even though fruit allergies can be considered common, most usually develop a reaction only after eating or touching the raw fruits since the drying process has altered the proteins.
An allergy to mold
The exposure to mold occurs on a daily basis, both in the foods that are eaten and the surrounding air. If an individual is allergic to mold, prolonged exposure can result to symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, stuffy nose, skin rashes and watery eyes. It is important to note that dried fruits are common sources of mold. Other beverages and foods that are likely to contain mold include cheese, mushrooms, beer, wine, vinegar, pickled foods and yeast.
Sensitivity to sulfite
Sulfites are usually added to dried fruits as preservative. Sensitivity to sulfite can develop at any point in life and the causes are not yet known. Sulfites are not used on vegetables and fruits that are to be eaten raw but can be used in shrimp, potatoes, beer, wine and certain medications. The symptoms are similar to asthma and can range from a mild wheezing to life-threatening reaction that requires medical care.
Intolerance to fructose
If the individual experiences abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea after consumption of dried fruit, he/she has problems in digesting fructose. Fructose is typically present in fruit and also utilized to sweeten various various foods and beverages. The malabsorption of fructose is not harmful but can cause discomfort. In some cases, there are individuals who have hereditary fructose intolerance which is a rare but serious genetic illness in which the body lacks the enzyme required to break down the fructose. This usually occurs among young children and can lead to liver and kidney problems if left untreated.
How dried fruit allergy is diagnosed
If you suspect that the individual has an allergy or food intolerance, it is best to consult a doctor. The individual must be prepared to describe the symptoms and keep a food diary to note adverse reactions. An elimination diet can be started or a skin prick test or blood test might be performed.
During a skin test, the skin is pricked and a small amount of allergen is introduced. If the individual is allergic, a rash will develop. If a blood test is performed, the blood is analyzed for the presence of antibodies. An individual who is asthmatic might undergo a sulfite sensitivity test.
Treatment for dried fruit allergy
If an individual has mold allergy, medications such as oral antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids and decongestants can help relieve the symptoms. Allergy shots can help if the individual has mold-induced asthma. Those who are sensitive to sulfites are given an asthma bronchodilator to treat the symptoms. For those who are at risk for anaphylaxis, an epinephrine injector or EpiPen is prescribed by the doctor that must be carried at all times. Take a course on first aid that includes allergy management so that you are prepared to help out during emergencies.