Carrots are not included in the list of the major food allergens but some individuals are highly sensitive to them. Those who have allergies to carrots are usually allergic to birch tree pollen since the proteins present in raw carrots are strikingly comparable with the birch tree pollen. Cooking carrots will destroy the proteins, thus making them safe for consumption for individuals who are allergic to carrots.
What are the symptoms?
An allergy to vegetables and raw fruits is typically linked to pollen allergy. This condition is commonly referred to as oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food allergy syndrome. The minor reactions typically include tingling or burning in the lips and mouth.
As for severe reactions to carrots, it often includes watery eyes, sneezing episodes, swelling of the lips and mouth, wheezing and difficulty breathing. In rare cases, the individual can suffer from a severe reaction or anaphylaxis that can be life-threatening that affects the breathing and entails immediate medical care. Hives or skin rashes rarely occur if an individual has carrot allergy.
Possible risk factors
Individuals who suffer from oral allergy syndrome typically have seasonal allergies or hay fever as well. Those who have asthma or eczema are more likely to end up with oral allergy syndrome.
It is important to note that there is a strong genetic factor for these conditions. It simply means that if the parents have any of these conditions, their children are likely to have them as well. Many children were able to outgrow food allergies, asthma and eczema as they get older, but adults are more often affected by oral allergy syndrome than children.
Considerations to bear in mind
Prolonged or continuous exposure to carrots after an allergic reaction can put the individual at risk for developing a severe reaction in the future. A doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected with carrot allergy.
In most circumstances, the doctor will recommend testing to check if the individual has other food allergies. Many individuals who are highly sensitive to raw carrots might also be allergic to pears, celery, kiwi, apples, peaches, apricots, almonds or hazelnuts. As for severe reactions, the doctor might propose an epinephrine auto-injector that must be on-hand at all times. This device contains a small amount of epinephrine that can help save a life if an individual has a severe reaction, thus allowing time to seek medical care.
Treatment for carrot allergy
The ideal strategy in order to cope with carrot allergy is avoidance of raw carrots. In case a child has food allergies, the caregivers and teachers should be aware of his/her condition and monitor the child for signs of allergies to other foods as well.
A doctor should be consulted before using alternative treatment options such as herbal supplements and acupuncture. Take note that these methods are not properly tested and might not be effective or safe.
An oral antihistamine is usually given for mild reactions after consumption of carrots such as itchy lips. On the other hand, it is vital to seek immediate medical care if the individual experiences difficulty breathing, wheezing or swelling.