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Pineapple Allergy - Symptoms, Cause, Treatment & Food to Avoid

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     May 15, 2019

   5 min     

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Overview

Eating pineapple chunks or pineapple slices can instantly give every occasion a tropical vibe. Pineapple, also known as Ananas, is a great fruit, packed with nutrients and a lot of health benefits. However, if unfortunately, you're someone who suffers from an allergy to pineapples, you can instead encounter an itchy tongue or swollen lips, accompanying stomach aches.

Pineapple allergy

Food allergies and fruit allergies are a common allergic reaction. Allergy by eating pineapples, in particular, is quite rare compared to those by fruits like apples, kiwis and peaches. An allergic reaction to pineapple may be triggered by consuming a little amount of the fruit or drinking pineapple juice, and the symptoms can appear immediately or after a couple of hours as well. In severe cases may even have an allergic reaction from touching pineapple.

Nevertheless, in case you notice any discomfort or additional symptoms after you eat pineapple, you should not overlook this as it could suggest that you have a pineapple food allergy. Keep in mind that pineapple allergy symptoms vary from being mild signs to even being potentially life-threatening.

People who are allergic to pineapple might also be found allergic to bananas or birch tree pollen, which is recognised as a pollen-allergy syndrome.

Symptoms of pineapple allergy

Do you have a pineapple allergy? Find out from these symptoms:

  • The first symptoms begin with intense itching and the formation of rashes on one or more parts of the body

  • This is followed by stomach pain and diarrhoea or vomiting which is actually the body's attempt to get rid of the substance

  • In some cases, there is swelling on the face, tongue and lips

  • Few people also experience difficulty breathing, dizziness and even fainting

  • Severe allergy can result in a medical emergency called anaphylaxis where people experience shock, suffocation and extreme difficulty in breathing

Some other significant signs and symptoms are:

  • Red rashes

  • Burning sensation

  • Swelling

  • Contact dermatitis

  • Hives or itching on some parts of the skin

  • Vomiting

  • Stomach or lower abdomen cramps

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and other parts of the mouth

  • Nausea

  • Wheezing

  • Breathing difficulties

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure

  • Anaphylaxis

Out of the above-mentioned symptoms indicating a pineapple allergy, anaphylaxis is the most dangerous and can even be life-threatening. In case there are symptoms of anaphylaxis such as extreme swelling of the throat, ears, or throat, then you should instantly get to a hospital. If the allergy triggers anaphylaxis, then you can even go into shock within minutes, and it can even be fatal.

If you come to have an allergy to pineapples, it clearly indicates that your immune system interprets the components present in pineapples to be toxins or harmful substances to your body. This can make you suffer from symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting, which are caused by your body's natural mechanism to get rid of such toxins. When you vomit or have diarrhoea, you face the risk of dehydration, and so you should drink water.

Causes of pineapple allergy

An allergy or sensitivity towards pineapples is the outcome of your immune system classifying pineapple as harmful, which triggers an immune system response in your body. Your genes can be a reason for any such allergy. If you have a family member or close relative with allergic reactions to pineapple, then it is highly possible that you have it too.

Another reason for having a pineapple allergy can be the latex present in pineapple. In such a case, it is known as the latex-fruit syndrome. Some other fruits associated with the latex-fruit syndrome are avocados, bananas, chestnuts, figs, kiwi fruits, mangoes, passion fruits, soy and strawberries. So if you are allergic to pineapples, there is a higher chance for you to be allergic to some of these other fruits. 

Another potential cause of reactions from eating pineapple is oral allergy syndrome, which is usually caused by airborne pollen proteins through plants such as grass, birch, ragweed and mugwort. However, these proteins are also found in some fruits and vegetables, including pineapple, mangoes, bananas, avocados, peaches and kiwis.

An enzyme present in pineapples known as bromelain can also be the cause for allergic reactions from pineapple.

Treatment for pineapple allergy

If you notice any of the above-listed symptoms after you eat pineapple, then you should consult your doctor. Your doctor will prescribe you a list of over the counter medicines to treat your allergic reactions from pineapple.

The most prevalent medications for pineapple allergy are:

  • Calamine lotion - for skin rash and itch

  • Topical Steroids

  • Epinephrine - for breathing difficulty and nausea

  • Antihistamines

  • For asthma caused by pineapple:

    • Bronchodilators

    • Beta Agonists

    • Corticosteroids

  • For allergic conjunctivitis:

    • Ketorolac

    • Ketotifen

    • Levocabastine

    • Olpatadine

Apart from the drugs, you can also opt for desensitisation treatment to help your body become used to allergens from pineapples.

Preventing Pineapple Allergy

The most basic way to prevent allergic reactions from pineapple is not to eat pineapple. You should make sure about checking the ingredient labels on processed foods you eat, to find out if they contain any pineapple and avoid if they do. It would be best if you also watched out for products that contain any pineapple juice in them. When you eat out, you should ask about the content of dishes and make sure that they do not contain any pineapple in it.

Foods to avoid

Pineapple may also lurk in other foods. Some of these products include:

  • canned fruit salad or cocktail

  • pineapple salsa

  • pineapple rum

  • pineapple jam

  • fruitcake

  • banana bread

  • pineapple soda or soft drinks

  • tropical fruit punch

  • tropical alcoholic beverages, such as margaritas and piña coladas

  • fruit candies

What are the possible risk factors?

People are at an increased risk for the allergy if a close family member is allergic. Other observations include chances of being allergic to bananas or an allergy to natural rubber latex.

However, many people have oral-allergy syndrome, which rarely leads to anaphylaxis. Oral allergy symptoms include irritation and itching in the lips, mouth and throat, but these symptoms are usually not life-threatening. If you think you are allergic, it is best to avoid raw pineapple and other foods that contain any form of pineapple.

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