While being allergic to peanuts is something that a number of people have heard of, there are others that suffer from an onion allergy and this can have the same impact on their health as somebody that suffers from the peanut reaction. The difference with this particular allergy is that it does tend to be something that very few people know about, so what actually happens and how serious can this reaction potentially be?
How can you be allergic to onions?
A person may prove to be allergic to either raw onions or cooked onions, but it is more common for there to be a reaction to the raw variety and it is often due to them reacting to what, for most people, are harmless proteins contained in the vegetable. Basically, the body produces antibodies that go by the name of IgE antibodies and they then react against the proteins in the onion leading to the body producing excess amounts of Histamine from the gut, pharynx, and even the skin. The problem with too much Histamine is that your body then has an adverse reaction to this and it is this reaction that shows up as an allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of this type of allergy?
This particular type of allergy is what is generally known as a contact allergy and the result of this is that the symptoms are very much as you would expect to get from dermatitis as it tends to affect the skin or the gut more than anywhere else on the body. This means that the most common symptoms include: feeling itchy all over your body, the appearance of hives, nausea, diarrhea, being bloated, and excess gas, but it is important to point out that a severe reaction, known as an acute reaction, is actually very rare when it comes to onions. Symptoms of an acute reaction include: changes to your breathing, blood pressure dropping, feeling very dizzy, and finally being in a state of confusion.
How to treat the allergic reaction
Treating this reaction is a very simple process because in most instances Antihistamines will manage to clear up the allergy in a very short period of time. These tablets are of course available over the counter so there will be no need to contact your doctor for a prescription unless the reaction that you tend to have is more severe. If you discover that you develop hives, then they can be helped by applying atopical ointments or your doctor may decide to prescribe you some corticosteroids and this will ease the symptoms in next to no time as well. If you are one of the few people that are at risk of suffering from anaphylactic shock, then you will be given a shot of epinephrine to carry about with you and this is self-injected with the result being it works on reducing the severity of the reaction in next to no time. This is the exact same thing as people that suffer from a peanut allergy are given and there is no doubt that it has saved countless lives over the year.
How to avoid a reaction
Onion does appear in so many items and it does of course mean that you need to spend time reading the ingredients carefully before you eat anything. One point that should be mentioned is that quite often people are only allergic to the raw ingredient and they are fine when it is cooked so it may be worthwhile trying them and see how you feel after doing so. Apart from that it comes down to common sense and paying attention and you should be able to reduce the chances of having any kind of a reaction.
How serious is it?
An onion allergy is, in most instances, relatively mild and it will not cause you any long-term health problems with it being cured by simple Antihistamines that are available at any chemist. Only a small percentage of people will need to carry epinephrine and at the most people will only have some mild discomfort that will pass in next to no time.
This type of allergy can, therefore, be summarized as follows:
- You are more likely to be allergic to the raw version rather than cooked.
- The allergy is due to the body reacting to proteins in the onion.
- Your body then produces too much Histamine making you feel unwell.
- Antihistamine is the most common cure.
- Ointment or steroids may be given for people that have a skin reaction.
- Epinephrine can be administered for the most serious of cases.
- Symptoms are usually mild and an inconvenience rather than serious.