Onion Allergy – How Common Is It And How Serious Can It Be?

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.

146 thoughts on “Onion Allergy – How Common Is It And How Serious Can It Be?”

  1. Interesting facts. I have suffered in excess of 20 years from what I consider IBS. I have bouts of uncontrollable diarrea. I am wondering if I have an onion or garlic allergy. Usually I try to avoid them but if I am eating out or at someone’s home, I can’t be sure. I never have the Skin reaction (hives), only the gastrointestinal ones. I am 80 and in good health otherwise.

    1. I have been suffering since I was a child. My mother and others thought I did not like onions (onion family) until they saw for themselves having a reaction. I get extremely bloated, my hands and feet swell, become itchy/hot and break out in hives.

      When I eat out I always ask if there are onions, restaurant staff/chef try to accommodate.
      Family/friends will prepare non onion dishes. If there are onions, they will set aside a dish with none so I can enjoy as well.

      It is good to know I am not the only person who suffers onion allergic reactions.

      1. Holy Smoke. When I was a teenager I suffered for 3 months from this weird (virus? reaction?), the symptoms of which were SWOLLEN HANDS & FEET mostly, then my face swelled, and then I got hives over my whole body. The doctors never figured it out, and it went away. I have never heard of anyone having any similar symptoms grouped together. I know now as an adult that I am sensitive to onions (all digestive woes). Makes me wonder if my body was reacting to onions back then…. Just not sure why I got better for a time…

    2. My husband developed an allergy to onions and garlic in his late teens. Now 63, he still has the same reaction. The smallest amount of onion and he has severe diarrhea. Enough Immodium will stop it, but it is a very real problem. He is the only person he has ever met who suffers from this. He has none of the other symptoms some talk about. Thanks for posting this. We know how to deal with it. We ask his allergist and he said “avoid them”. That’s what he does.

      1. I am replying to Judy S.

        I live in Washington DC and I thou I have not met your husband I too have this same exact reaction. I am 35 and this began for me around 27-28ish. I use to eat onion and garlic all the time… but now if i eat it appx 16-24 hour later I am paying the price severe diarrhea that burns upon exit (sorry so graphic) no skin issues or itching. And unfortunately I must do the same I have found no cure just avoid them which proves to be very difficult eating out.

        1. I also have the diarrhea with cooked onion as well. I have antihistamines everyday for another allergy but still get the tummy problem. I avoid all onion, but I have tried with leeks and don’t seem to get the problem with it.

      2. I developed my onion allergy about 10 years ago but suffered with it for much longer – it was just difficult to identity the source of the allergy response (after all, onions aren’t in everything?). My response begins within 5 minutes of ingesting even the tiniest bit from unwashed knife or incidental contamination and it starts with tremendously painful stomach cramps, feeling faint, blood pressure drops dramatically and the diarrhoea begins. It keeps going for a few hours and I start bleeding towards the end of it. I am vigilant to make sure it isn’t in anything I eat which can make eating out a challenge. One thing that stops the reaction is if with the first bit of cramping I take 6 – 8 charcoal capsules immediately. Sometime up to 12 if it’s really persistent. Of course if there’s any other tablets you need to take around the same time, they’re also wrapped up in the charcoal effect. Incidentally, blueberries have the same effect on me. Go figure.

        1. I have just had GI surgery due to an extreme reaction from my onion allergy. I take daily medication for my airborne allergies, the worst of which is ragweed. My onion allergy gets worse during ragweed season. I have several food allergies that cause constriction and itching of the throat, but my allergies to onion and all other vegetables in the Lilly family are the worst. They started in my 20s, tho I didn’t like onions as a child. Now, I am 56 and my intolerance get worse by the year. I can’t taste or smell onions unless they are very strong and uncooked, but I react even to onion powder during rag weed season.
          I have to avoid onions, dried onions, onion powder, chives, scallions, leaks, shallots, but I can tolerate some garlic, for now. My reaction starts an hour or so after ingestion and includes gas, bloating, stomach pain that continues for about 24 hours and is only partially relieved by antihistamines an not relieved by antacids. Then I get severe cramping and diarrhea, and swelling of mt hands and feet, with itching. It has been getting worse year by year. This ragweed season, I had a reaction that was so strong, it caused a portion of the mucosa in my lower gut to tear. The complications of that lead to surgery.
          I was told by my allergist that since my reactions don’t occur immediately after injesting onions, it is unlikely that this is an allergy and more likely it is some sort of toxic reaction. I have no other symptoms of toxicity, such as liver enzyme being off or white cell counts off, so I wonder if it is just an allergic response specific to the mid to lower gut.

          1. This reply is to Karen. I have never related my onion allergy or the severity of it to my inhalant allergies. I have a mold allergy that really kicks up at certain times of the year, so I will be taking notice of how the onion allergy acts in relation. Thank you for that info!
            No one on this page has mentioned one of my embarrassing symptoms, but I will be brave and just say it. Rectal itching. It has been a troubling symptom along with the intestinal symptoms that many have shared. Garlic seems to have made its way into the picture as well. I can tolerate small amounts of it but only once in a while. My symptoms can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours to show up. I never know what the difference is as to why it takes longer. At times just smelling it, sets me off as well.
            I was able to eat onions my whole life until menopause started, or at least I didn’t have the itching at least. I have a history of intestinal trouble that I thought was IBS, but maybe it was onions all along.
            I am thankful to have found this page and read that many others have been going through this too. And add to this, a sensitivity/allergy to tomato and also dairy, it makes for interesting challenges when making dinner for my family. I abstained from all of these for 6 months and can now rotate in the tomato and dairy, but no luck with the onions. ~

        2. Yeah, same here. Mostly the same symptoms as you plus the gurgling in the small of my back area. I’d be better off just throwing the food right in the toilet. It would save the wear and tear on my *sshole…

  2. Thank you so much for this information about onion allergy. I have been suffering with severe dermatitis and now I believe that onion in my diet has probably been a huge contributing factor. I will be eliminating onion (esp raw) from my diet.

  3. Thank you, please create a facebook page, if there isn’t one already. My coworkers seem to think I am overreacting to them eating onions but I can smell them 2 to 3 rows over. The red raw ones in salads are the absolute worse! It feels like someone is driving a knife into my stomach.

    1. ME TOO! Even just the smell will put me in a reaction and I will start wheezing and breaking out into hives. I feel my skin burning. I have stopped going to family gatherings unless they can promise me 100% there is no onion in the house. If I eat it; it’s sharp pains in my stomach along w/ the rest of it. I have an epipen now.

  4. It is so nice to read an onion allergy post. Now i know i’m not nuts! I was always revulsed by onions. As a kid i had headaches,nausea, vomiting and rashes on my neck and face – which I later realized were associated with eating onions and any onion by products: shallots,green onions, scallions,chives leeks, onion powders, pickled foods etc… I did try to point it out only to be told that it was attention seeking behavior ( by my family doctor) . Even garlic I could only have with extreme moderation. When I was 7 months pregnant with my first child even pictures of onions could induce violent revulsion and vomiting. In my second pregnancy I realized I was pregnant when I nearly fainted at work watching a coworker eat a sandwich with onions. I’ve been tested and told that i do have an antibody response though “within the noise of the system” ie statistically significant but not high enough to be clinically significant. Essentially I don’t need epi but I carry antihistamines with me at all times and hardly ever eat out. Glad to hear there are kindred spirits out there. Thought I was the only one :)

    1. I just experienced once of the worst attacks with nausea and my throat started to close! So scary! It used to just affect my stomach & my GI tract. For years no one but my immediate family (most of them suffer from this also) has taken me seriously. My husband’s family has decided to “test” out my allergy many times to see if it was true and I wasn’t being “dramatic”. It’s a scary feeling to have people not believe you with this very real allergy. Certain restaurants I have chosen to go to have been very respectful and have made special dishes just for me. A blessing truly. Thank you for this article as maybe just maybe others will become aware how serious this truly is! It’s nice to see everyone’s comments also as it feels like I’m not so alone in this crazy world of no onions!

      1. I use to be able to eat onions and cooked with them all the time. I never ate them raw, but an occasional raw piece would get in my food and would not bother me. Then in my 40’s I started changing my diet and losing weight. I lost 25 pounds and then found that onions started to bother me. Now, 4 years later, I cannot eat anything with onion in it… not onion salt, powder, dehydrated onions, or the vegetable itself. I have tried to avoid them at all times: especially eating out, but even the occasional trip to McDonald’s brought on a very uncomfortable result when just a tiny little piece ended up on my burger. I am taking an antihistamine now to see if it will help. Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) will usually put me to sleep. So we shall see. But my reactions are swelling of the gut to the point that I look 8 months pregnant, and swelling of the legs and feet. Sometimes I get swelling of my hands. I have a feeling that because onions, like peanuts, are soil grown foods, there is something in the soil that is absorbed into these items and that is what is causing this. But whatever caused this allergy, I am glad that I know it and that it isn’t all in my head. (It’s rather all in my gut! :-)

        1. OMG! Thank you so much for your post! I’ve been reading about onion allergies and you are the first that has my exact symptom. I love onions & I’m 33 but since last year I had to stop eating them! I can literally feel my stomach swell If something I eat has onions in it & as a result I look extremely pregnant! When this happens, I feel very miserable, full and tired . This sucks because there are onions in almost everything!

      2. My birth family NEVER believed or took my reaction to onions seriously. To this day I still get nausea, cramps,
        loose stools, face and throat itching, tongue tingling, and at times I feel ‘out of it’. Now, MY family randomly “tests” me. Every time, I have detected the onion by taste, and also get some reaction sooner or
        later as I’ve described. They tell me to “try this”, and because I love them, I do and pay for it later. Sometimes
        they tell me there was only a ‘dash’ of onion, while other times, “we left out the onion in yours”. Only to find out
        they used the same utensils or knives they used on their food.
        It’s nice to know it’s NOT just in my mind, and I’m not alone.

  5. I guess my reaction to onlions would be considered severe.
    While I dont get hives, I do get all the other symptoms described plus my entire face does a puffer fish impersonation and it feels like my brain and sinuses swell up as well.
    Antihistamines are a must.
    And buffet restaurants are a challenge!

    1. Boyd,

      The reaction you have may be worth a trip to an allergist. Anytime your face and sinuses are involved you should truly avoid eating the food that caused it. You may need to carry an epi-pen.
      I carry an epi-pen because I have the vey same reaction to garlic. I avoid garlic and onions always. I agree that eating out is a real challenge

  6. I am severely allergic to onions in any form, including leeks, ramps, shallots, chives…my throat swells and I stop breathing, get nauseous, itchy, and feel dizzy and confused, like my eyes are rolling back I my head and I’m falling through the floor. It’s so hard to eat out as chefs don’t take my allergy seriously. Even eating rice made with chicken broth that had been prepared with onion causes anaphylaxis. Wish every dish in restaurants didn’t contain onion so I wouldn’t be afraid of dying when I eat out!

  7. I have always had bloating and upset stomach frequently since I was a kid, sometimes painful. I have recently found out that Onions are the cause, by simply keeping an account of everything I ate and when I ate it, after awhile I could actually predict when the stomach pains will start after I eat onions. As a result I have been searching for a remedy, and I have found that Cranberry Juice and Pomegranate Juice helps a lot, and have made a big difference. Since I can find these juices almost anywhere I go, it is very practical. I hope this helps some of you with stomach reactions, like I said I have had severe cramping in the past, but now I am able to prevent them.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I’m still going to avoid onions, but I’ll keep some Cranberry Juice around just in case I accidently get “onioned”.

  8. My husband became allergic to onions following chemotherapy treatment over 20 years ago. He has a very rapid reaction with IBS symptoms, though it does not affect his skin. It appears to be the flesh of the onion (cooked as well) that causes the issue. even the tiniest bit! Have got round the problem when cooking by substituting leeks or using shallots tied in a muslin bag, then taking them out before serving a casserole. A lot of trial and error over the years, but this seems to work. Have to be so careful when eating out, however, as waiters often quite unhelpful. Also have to avoid ready meals, as generally all contain onion.

  9. None of what you said covers my onion allergy problem. NONE! I’ve had this problem since I was born and it has nothing to do with rashes or any other external symptom. I can’t eat onions in any form without getting sick and often vomiting. Even the smell of onions cooking can give me that reaction. I addition I hate the taste, and everything else related to any kind of onion, whether raw, fried, boiled, whatever. Isn’t there someone out there – ANYONE – who shares my affliction?

    1. ME! I am not as reactive as you. But as a poor college student, I cooked up Lipson onion soup in my electric frying pan, my guts were torn up for days. My poor roommate got the tar smell part. I tied it to all the aching digestive upsets over the years. I got terribly bloated with raw onions. I found that sauteed or cooked onions in a broth were better. Not for you, I bet! Funny thing is, I hate Paper White flowers, and can’t stand certain lilies, like Easter lilies. Guess what – those bulbs are in the onion family!
      I found you can outgrow reactions to Strawberries – thank goodness, no more hives or rashes.

    2. Yes! My husband does. We live in rural Lincolnshire and the field next to us is an onion crop this year – my husband has been very sick for about 7 days now, just from the smell of them! I have to cook without onion or garlic, substituting these with fennel and mild chilli pepper. You are not alone! The onion crop is nearly all in, hopefully my husband will slowly improve.

    3. ME!!!!! have never been able to get them down. Thinking about the smell makes me nauseous. And it’s a family thing – a few other people in my family have this. It’s SUCH a pain!!!!!! Going to dinner parties and trying to explain because everyone cooks with onions. I can eat onion powder, but that’s it. Same with chives, green onions, shallots, etc. I can eat garlic fortunately.

      1. I have had similar reactions since ever I can remember to all onion related products,chives leeks etc, including onion powder juice. I even had a very qualified chef investigate after I experienced symptoms of low level onion ingestion in what was supposed to be an onion free soup in his restaurant. Turned out to be the miropois used to prepare the stock. ( carrot, onion, celery)
        Now here’s the kicker. I reside in Canada where Heinz ketchup & baked beans, HP sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Bisto, Oxo and sundry other products all list onion as an ingredient. The same products in the UK don’t show any onion. Is it just a different labelling requirement, or are the UK products truly onion free? I put that question to Heinz & was told that they do not divulge their recipes, other than as required by law. Go figure! Anyone able to shed some light? PLEASE

    4. and my dad has tested allergic to onions – so I just tell everyone it’s an allergy. I have to be REALLY careful at cocktail parties … have been a couple times where I have bitten into things and almost barfed in someone’s face!!!

    5. yes, I have the same problem, but a bit milder.I would always stay out of a kitchen with the smell of onions, I dislike the taste of all kinds of onions and I get sick if I eat them. My mom have the problems as you, she would vomit. I is really hard to eat out.

    6. I can’t even smell them either :o( It’s hard going places without calling days ahead and making sure they truly understand the issue. My family has become very supportive and most restaurants have been very supportive as well. I had one company called Bar Louie’s that catered an event I was going to be at completely around my allergy. They rank high on my respect list now.

    7. It only takes one smell of raw or cooked onions to get my gut going. If I don’t get out quick, I also get dizzy and start with a bad headache. We do have quite the unusual allergy. It’s very hard to have much of a social life around food.

    8. Thank you for your post! I love onions, but my body cannot tolerate them. So I am very careful when I indulge that I don’t have any plans for the next 3-5 days. I am going to stock up on cranberry juice and test it out!

      Thank you!

    9. You are not the only one my dear… I am very allerguc to onions! And also my granddaughter… no one of my sons but the oldest one who is the father of my granddauhter hates onions! I am pretty sure he is also. I get all kinds of reactions from onions….in my stomach, my skin, my eyes, my throat…..everywhere! :(

      1. I do.

        When I was a young boy I had to leave the house whenever my Mom cooked with (onions, chives, shallots etc.) sometimes I couldn’t even be in the kitchen hours after the meal was cooked. Upon a faint smell, I would start gagging uncontrollably. And I remember the handful of times when I accidentally ate onions, vomiting almost immediately over and over until I had the dry heaves…then feeling swollen and horrible for hours. My family LOVES onions.. lol… and I remember being told it was all in my head. I used to hate that. On the one occasion (30 yrs ago) when mentioned to a doctor, he really didn’t have much to say. And there didn’t seem to be much info on the subject then, so I’ve just dealt with it ever since.

        As I have gotten older, I can eat the really really cooked ones, like in chili/stews…but they have to be clear and cooked for hrs. Even with cooked ones, I can still get that reaction, but I’m able to “calm” myself of the gagging/vomiting until the sensation goes away. (assuming I get it out of my mouth and eat/drink something else immediately). I can actually enter a room and stay for a few minutes when a raw onion is being chopped.

        One weird thing I noticed with raw ones, is that the older-the-onion, the stronger the sensation is. I love garlic and am fine with garlic, but remember on a few occasions getting the sensation when peeling/cooking with really old garlic (like sprigs growing out of the top). Even chips with onion powder on them, I get a very mild reaction.

        I’ve become very good at ordering meals at restaurants where I know would never contain an onion. I’ve still been surprised a few times (usually cross contamination), but so far have been able to avoid barfing at the table when eating out :)

        I’m really surprised to see how many posts are out here on this, when I have talked about it in the past I usually get looked at funny.

        1. What a relief to read your comments. I’ve also had this affliction my entire life (I’m over 30 now). On numerous occasions, I’ve spat out things and nearly vomited when biting into unexpected hidden onion pieces.

          Raw, or even slightly cooked onions, make me the most nauseous. It’s so bad that if a raw onion piece touches a piece of bread, I cannot consume that piece of bread even if the onion is taken off.

          My most recent nightmarish experience dealing with this horrible vegetable was last night. I was trying to pick through dishes that had cooked onions in them in a group outing — being a good sport, you know — then I developed little bumps towards the back of my throat, followed by excruciating nausea/stomach pains a couple hours later until I expelled said food. Yep, all in my head guess!

          I’ve always found it incredible what lengths people would go to ‘test’ my allergy. Have any of you noticed, for example, others denying your intolerance/allergy and then lying to you about ingredients? My own family attempted countless times to trick me into eating onions. After one bite I’d usually spit it into my napkin, then push away my bowl or dish and get up from the table.

          Over the years, I’ve managed to build a tolerance towards a small amount of chives, and I can also handle garlic. However, by far the worst offender is the white onion, especially raw. I find it one of the foulest, most toxic natural foods imaginable. They should be banished from the earth.

        2. Onion on pancake one time that was the most ridiculous one of thousands of times this has happened to me people reading this with all the stomach issues try fresh pineapple if you have it, baking soda with water, or oddly a couple beers as soon as you realize you’ve been “Onioned” thanks to all for posting it does help just knowing others understand. Also gross but when I was s child got in trouble all the time for poopy pants looking back now in my 40’s I am sure this was the cause all the things about family not getting so true I’ll cut them up small cook them well all in your head heard them all. I have found a few other helpful treatments over the years but don’t remember all right now as I have full control over past 10 or so years (don’t eat out much only when necessary and choose wisely) will post as I remember some also can vouch for the cranberry and pomegranate juice and eatting something more even if not hungry helps me to have a short less severe reaction buy some ginger capsules they give you what seems like heartburn but do help clear it out of gut quicker this does suck though for all the reasons everyone has stated

    10. Hi!!!!!!!!!!! OMG
      hello not make me happy your condition, but I’m happy to know I’m not the only one, and I’m not crazy!! I have the same reaction as yours onion garlic and cinnamon, started three months ago! buahhhh!.
      I can breathe fine, no signs of hives on my skin, just eat them or smell and I can vomit up my whole life!! now I can’t walk in the street passing by restaurants and food carts is fatal for me, because smell like onions I drop weight so much, so to avoid the vomiting problem I eat before bed and I started to gain weight not healthy, and this is not life!!! and nobody understands ,
      I had a surgery in the mouth and I was using a medicated mouthwash to prevent infections and problems, they said that this product will change my sense of taste and smell to poor, but happened in different way, now I do not know if it was coincidence the time I used this product and is allergic reaction of this food with vomiting reaction, but I am depress and very unhappy.

    11. I, too, as a tiny infant would get sick if my mother cut an onion up . I would be sitting in my high chair in the kitchen and when she peeled and cut an onion I would throw up just with smelling the onion. I have never been able to stand the smell of onions or garlic. It has been hard all my life to go to parties, eat out or eat any prepared foods due to the onion and/or garlic ingredients. No one really seems to understand my symptoms! Bob Rogers, you are not alone!

  10. I too feel like I’m being stabbed in the gut. My face is itchy and begins to swell. It is horrible. I have learned there are certain sloppy restaurants that have bits of raw white onions in their lettuce and it has happened more than once. I once overheard a server arguing with a cook over the salad he removed the onions from instead of making a new one. Removing the onions or simply eating around them doesn’t’ work anymore. It is really bad when a manager comes to talk to me about my allergy and they are act like I’m making it up. My allergy is getting worse and worse. I’m wondering when all onions, shallots, chives, garlic that is cooked will be an issue. Has anyone progressed to an allergy for both raw and cooked?

    1. Yes. Raw, cooked, powdered, salted…. it does not matter. In every form, I have a reaction to it. I know the minute it gets on my tongue that it’s too late to stop the reaction. I thought it would go away but it is not. Food is perfectly delicious without onions in it. I have no idea why it is so imperative that a chef or cook HAS to put them in all their food items. It makes no sense. It is not that great of a spice. I’m baffled why the food and drug administration has not noticed the increasing onion allergies. You are not alone in your symptoms.

      1. On that label reading everyone watch out for words like spices or natural flavoring if it is powder or salt form it can fall under that and if you ask a co. for info on ingredients tell them why and ask them to only tell you if it contains that specific ingredient and you are not looking for the recipe for instance French’s mustard garlic yes if you like guldens brown mustard you’re OK this was one of the last changes some years ago for me

  11. I to have an allergy to raw red onions, severe bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. I am ok if they are cooked.

    I found out yesterday that radishes also have the same effect :(

  12. Hi,

    My friends think I have a fear of onions. I bloat, get gas that smells like rotten onions and makes me feel sick to my stomach. Since it takes a couple of days to clear things out, then it is embarrassing to go anywhere. I ask all the times if there are onions in things. Almost as soon as I eat them gas escapes that I don’t even feel escaping. It upsets my husband, who says, “I have to live with you.” My asthma is not as bad since I make sure not to even eat onion powder in things. Since I have asthma, I can not take antihistamines. My son and daughter both have this allergy.

  13. I googled “how common are onion allergies” on a whim. I was very surprised to find a whole article about it. Thank you so much. I’m so glad to know that it is more common than I thought. I found a lot of helpful info!

  14. Hi thanks for the info, I have a sever allergy to all onions and associated foods (apart from a tiny amount of garlic) I carry an epi pen for this and last week had full anaphylaxis, from walking past onions being fried! A very scary experience.
    My reaction used to be milder with more IBS and tummy problems but has got worse over the years. It’s horrible as its nearly impossible to avoid not only is it a lot of foods it’s also being cooked every where

  15. Please be very careful with this allergy. I have know that I had this allergy for years and avoid onions, I never cook with them, I dont even allow them in my home. I never eat any process TV dinner that my contain onions. Just recently I went on vacation leaving my husband home alone to cook for himself. When I returned home, I made what I thought was a simple sandwich with lunchmeat, american cheese, bread and mayo. Later in the night I began feeling sick. The next day, I got up made a scrambled egg, beacon sandwich, all day I did not feel well. For dinner I made a TV dinner of pasta and cheese (ate the bread that came with the dinner had tiny green onions, which I thought I had removed)…. The next morning I woke with the worse case of hives….this had never happend) I ended up in the emergency room, sick, elevated blood pressure, swelling in my hands and feet, they gave me what they called a allergy cocktail, with strong doses of antihistimine, steriods, pecid and after about 2 hours I begin feeling better. On the drive home, my husband confessed to having a onion in the house. Had had been using it all week and planned on cooking other things with it….where was the onion stored I asked him. In the same drawer with the lunch meet, the beacon, are you starting to get the picture. The food I was eating had been contamined with the onion, he had it in a plastic bag, no tie just opened….I am still sick and currently taking steriods…..be very careful with this allergy….it is real….

      1. My wife stopped years ago and gets sick too not as bad as all of us but she say they ruin food now pretty funny but I bet a lot of people would develop a reaction in some form if they weren’t eating them everyday in almost everything think about vaccines for a minute!

  16. Wow, I have a considerable amount of company in my onion allergy.

    Since I was a wee thing onions made me sick, told my folks so, and they always thought it was like my brother who just didn’t like peas. As a young adult, seeing an allergist, it was determined I was allergic to onions, just GI issues for a day or two, depending on quantity, a few days more.

    As time went on (several years) the time frame increased, but it was typically tolerable. then about 5 years ago came to find out if I ate anything with raw onion, or anything that had touched raw onion my airway also closed up. Can’t say it’s fun. I worked on cutting out all onions in everything (did you know there are onion seasonings in ketchup?). Then about a year ago, my airway closed up if I was even near raw onions (cut). Truly inconvenient. I do carry an EPI pen. But it is a most inconvenient allergy.

    A recent conversation with an ACP (NP or PA) allergy specialist and a nutritionist they suggested that if I can tolerate the GI issues that I might want to allow items where onions are the last and a minute ingredient, that it might help minimize the airway issue when in the area of raw onions.

    At least it doesn’t include garlic, yet.

    1. If you’re like me that little bit of last ingredient onion stuff will still have an affect on you and I know you’ll fell better with none and yes ketchup is bad I even doctor some up with my own seasoning tomato sauce and paste (carfull Del Monte tomato sauce OK) cuts the % to a tolerable level to have fries burger hot dog and stuff though I can’t find a hot dog I can eat anymore because all the home cooking has left me also intolerant processed foods now anyone else have that happen?

  17. I have problems with raw or cooked onions, garlic, chives etc. etc. Yes even flowers in the onion family make me fill ill. I don’t have to always accidentally eat them to get a reaction, just the smell of them can make me sick. If my husband eats a sausage roll at work I can’t kiss him as it is metalic. I get headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy eczema, bloated, gaseous, tighted throat and or nose cavity, low blood pressure, dizziness, shakes, confusion, it is just nasty. Sometimes it is instant, othertimes within a few hours. Sometimes mild with only a few symptoms and then there are the times I get it all and I struggle for days. Some family and friends think I am just being difficult and restaurants are just a no go because they haven’t heard of it. If I had a problem with peanuts people would listen but onions, people just don’t get it.

  18. I developed an allergy to onions, too. It took me a long time to figure it out because I’m fine with white onions and red onions, but not yellow. I kept getting very sick (severe cramps and diarrhea, as well as thick mucous productions in my lungs) after eating out, but never at home. I finally narrowed it down to onions (after dining out on two meals containing onions in a span of a week–onion rings, French onion soup) and realized that at home I only used white onions–which is why I never got sick at home. After a few years of dodging onions in meals, I had allergy testing and it confirmed that it was to yellow only–no reaction to white or red. Sadly, most prepared foods and restaurant foods contain onions or onion powder, and eating out is VERY difficult as yellow onions are the cheapest so that’s what most institutions use. Add to that soy and sulfites and a few other things, I have to eat at home or at restaurants with actual chefs who hand prepare meals. That’s expensive. I really wish, with the increasing amount of food allergies in our population, and the decreasing visibility to what is in our food, labeling requirements would be more specific. Then again, I guess having to eat at home all the time does save money….

  19. After facing so many people who have thought I had made up my allergy it is nice to come across this site. I have been healthy my whole life and this allergy didn’t show up till I was in my 30’s and it put me in the ER. I have also noticed that red raw onions are the worse for me, but both raw and cook will cause my throat to start closing. Even placing my food on the same surface as onions or using a knife that has cut onions will cause a reaction. Although I can have onion powder. After reading the comments I now have a better understanding of my problem. My doctor didn’t take my allergy serious and did not suggest a specialist, all he did was tell me to take an antacid if I accidentally ate an onion. :) I need a new doctor.

    1. If anyone has a doctor that is open to helping post their name it might help someone or may be useful in convincing their doctor to listen no luck with that at all and yes we do need new ones I hate them so much haven’t gone ( save one sprained ankle x-ray) in 15 years NOT GOOD considering I’m 46 now and pay for insurance duh!

  20. Hi
    I’m allergic to so many things. All types of onions (chive etc.) garlic,msg, peanuts…. I really thought I was the only 1. However, my reaction is really really bad. Even d smell of cooked or raw onions, garlic…. Makes me swell as well ad other things. D swelling is a full body thing til now both my doctor and myself together with family realize that after I swell I get abdominal pains and bleeding. For many years we thought it was irregular periods or something but it was an allergic reaction. Queer isn’t it. I’m happy to finally know what is wrong with me so I could control it a bit BUT it’s realy difficult because I can’t tell my neighbors don’t use it. Yes, it’s so bad that d slightest smell bugs me. The funny ting is all my life the smell ‘burns’ my nostril and throat n I just thought that it was normal lol

  21. Hi all,

    I thought I was going mad for many years, it was sooo hard to track down the cause because of it being in most things in various forms. At first I cut out pretty much every food group I could imagine, I had never heard of onion allergy until i put my symptoms in Google with the food I had eaten the previous day (tuna & raw onion & mayo). I am allergic to whole onion, cooked or raw, onion powder, chives etc etc, pretty much everything to do with onions.

    I have suffered with sinus problems, reddening of the skin on the face either side of my nose (over the sinuses), quite severe joint ache (like having a bad case of the flu). It was taking me all day, maybe longer, to feel better and just fell rotten and muggy. Sleep was uninterrupted but woke up like I had a fight with a bus. My skin started to smell real bad when I had ingested onion or even if I handled it for a couple of seconds, it was like my body was trying to get rid of it asap.

    Doctors were absolutely useless, even after i told them of my suspicions. No one really believed I had it not even my GF until I showed her forums of other people suffering. Now I am much better albeit with acute sinus problems, it’s hard to avoid but it’s so worth it not to feel that bad; cooking without onions has become easy, not even substituting I find things even taste better (chilli, bolognese etc).

    After reading about it effecting someone with it just being in the house, I am definitely going to ban it from mine. Thanks for all the shares!

    1. Warren,
      Yours was the first post I read that even came close to the reaction I have to Onions (& Garlic). I Love Onions, … cooked … raw … Yum! and it took me so long to figure out what was causing my misery. Extreme, severe & embarrassing rhinitis & watery eyes & very swollen eyelids within 8 to 10 hours of ingesting either onions or garlic. When I realized what the cause was and eliminated them from my life/diet a great deal of energy also returned. I’d been dragging myself through each and every day for so long. What an amazing treat it was to be able to reach the end of a work day and not want to just curl up into a ball of exhausted misery.

      1. Yes feel much better after years of work I’m sure many people here have had or will soon have that experience

  22. Great information here! I have problems with both onions and garlic and when I say this I get this response “they are both good for you” – sorry, but not me! It takes me about 48 hours of digestive upset before I feel better. In the meantime, I look pregnant from the bloating and have to eat really bland food until I’m better. I have been able to eat sweet onions (in a very small amount) without digestive reactions, but no other types and never anything raw. It seems that if the onions or garlic are thoroughly cooked in a food (to the point you don’t seem them), it’s not as bad, but if I eat this type of food 2 days in a row, it builds up and I feel awful.

    Thanks for this info!

  23. I was always told by friends and family that there is no way to be allergic to a onion its an anti-histamine . I have been proven by doctors to be deathly allergic to onions! I get dizzy, puke, rashes and my breathing changes. Eating out happens a lot and i always have to carefully check my food and I carry allergy pills to be safe. I also have an eppi-pen for other severe allergies.

  24. I am so glad I read on this, for a solid year my face and entire mouth area has been breaking out in terrible hives and I have been so depressed about my appearance. I am very safe when it comes to oral sex so I knew it was not an STD but I eat a large amount of onions per day/week and really thought hard on why I eat the most and bingo it was the onions. Hate to say goodbye to them but I have got the worst reaction I think anyone has ever got, thanks so much for the helpful tips, my doctors have all been clueless only one gave me some ontiment and antibiotics now I can get back my normal life.

  25. I have fried onion smell allergy so whenever I feel it I am having difficult to breath and I am swallowing, dizziness, and achy all my Lungs my eyes achy and it is really horrible feeling. But my husband loves fried onion and every 2 days he is frying the onion at home . I ask him nicely many times to help me so I ask him never to fire onion at home , so if you want just bring it ready one. But he doesn’t cares at all…he thinks asthmatic allergic it is just a nothing. But I explained him many times how asthma is serious is, but he doesn’t cares for. And can you immagen how difficult for me when someone hearting me by frying onion so my asthma gets worse and worse ….. I don’t know how to stop my husband hearting me like this….can anyone answere it please with advice…..thank you in advance

  26. I’ve been getting what i call “WWIII” in my gut for 4 years now when I eat any type of onion product. I’ve just recently discovered that hidden dry onion powder in foods is sometimes the worst. I have stopped eating anything processed, prepared, canned, boxed, or frozen. I prepare and eat fresh foods. I also only go to local restaurants where they prepare everything from scratch. I tell the waiter of my onion allergy and that I can’t even have powder. They are always accommodating. Chain restaurants tend to have food prepared elsewhere and sent in frozen, etc. so I avoid them like the plague, especially Italian and Mexican places. As for cooking, I’ve found small sweet peppers make a great alternative to onions in recipes. To the lady whose husband wants to fry onions: why don’t you try getting him to try other foods. If he does it from scratch he can try zucchini, pickles, squash, peppers, jalapenos, etc. if he uses frozen, there’s still some great choices: mozzarella sticks, zucchini sticks, etc. I feel for every one out there. Smell first, eat later.

  27. I am so glad I found this website. I am severely allergic to onions and garlic. My allergist gave me information on foods in the lily family. Asparagus is in the lily family too! Since I found that out, I never eat asparagus. Just wanted to let others know too.

  28. Glad I found this.. Very interesting. I do not suffer many of the symptoms mentioned here, but I do struggle with my throat and airways after eating raw onion. Everything feels like its closing up and sore. I only really found this out after realising I always felt rough after having a kebab the night before, and I put this down to the fact I’d normally have a few beers beforehand. I now just try my best to avoid them.

  29. Like everyone else here, I’m so glad I found this site.

    I diagnosed myself as being intolerant to onions and garlic (“O&G”) when I was about 23, which was over 10 years ago now. I grew up in the UK absolutely loving pickled onions and the sweet boiled onions you get at hotdog stands. My mom would always use O&G in her caribbean-inspired cooking but only as a gentle background flavour. Everything was always well-cooked when I ate it (apart from the pickled onions) and I didn’t have any problems.

    My problems only began when I moved out of home to go to university and had to start fending for myself. Not being the greatest cook I was introduced to buying pre-prepared meals and eating out etc. Suddenly, I was confronted with raw onion in salads, pasta sauces heavily laden in O&G, curries etc, which from a taste point of view I loved.

    I don’t remember starting to feel ill straight away, more it was a gentle progression – so gentle I just came to accept the symptoms as normal until recurrent, unexplained diarrhea started showing up. The doctor put it all down to IBS and sent me away with Buscopan.

    Then, over a short period my boyfriend made a couple of side dishes for me which he really liked – both only had a few ingredients in and both were heavily laden in onion. They tasted delicious, but afterwards I felt noticeably bloated and had pee that smelt strongly of onions – that should have been a dead giveaway right there. Then a few months down the line he cooked one of the dishes again. The next day I felt the worst I had ever felt – I was literally doubled over in pain as I was trying to walk down the street. The pain was short-lived, luckily, but intense. As it was so long after, I still didn’t put it down to anything I had eaten.

    I decided to take stock of all my symptoms (which I hadn’t thought were connected at that point) – bloating, flatulence, cramps, headaches, lack of concentration, restless sleep, fatigue, feeling down, blocked sinuses, constant ‘woozy’ feeling, smelly pee, IBS, strong taste in the mouth – and realised they became worse soon after eating anything with onions or garlic in, but because I was eating them so frequently at that point, most of the symptoms never quite abated. I did a Google search and realised that allergies and intolerances to O&G did exist so I went about an exclusion diet just to make sure. Lo and behold, my symptoms started to disappear.

    Since then I have tried to steer clear of both O&G, but it’s been difficult, especially when eating out. For those times where I do end up having them (cooked or raw) I’ve found that taking a peppermint oil capsule as soon after as possible helps take away a lot of the bloating and lessens the bad feelings the next day. It also has the added bonus of making the breath smell better! Not all peppermint oil products are made equal though. I had to try a couple of brands before I found one that I liked and it ended up being a high strength one (50mg).

    I had not previously linked any skin symptoms to the intolerance, but reading some of your stories of hives has made me think back. I went though a long period where I had really angry eczema that wasn’t being cleared up by the prescribed topical creams. This would have been around the time when I was eating the most O&G, but it took a while to clear up after I stopped eating them. Now it’s completely gone.

    Living with my boyfriend, who is allergic to Brazil nuts (the only nut he’s allergic to) and other high selenium products, got me used to the joys of always checking ingredients labels, being cautious about cross-contamination and being around Epi-pens – luckily, my reactions have not escalated to a point where I would need one – before I had to start doing it for myself. It also got me more comfortable with asking whether certain dishes contain O&G and whether they can be made without them when we’re dining out. I think it’s telling of the quality of the restaurant and it’s staff if they can’t offer you a suitable alternative.

    A few months ago, I moved to Canada. On registering with my new doctor, I told her I’d self-diagnosed these intolerances and even though she hadn’t come across it before, she immediately wanted to send me for allergy testing (still to do) to find out what else may be an issue for me, something my UK doctor hadn’t been interested in pursuing. It will be interesting to see what turns up.

    Unfortunately, here in Canada, when they were looking at the allergen labelling on foods back in 2009, they couldn’t find enough satisfactory scientific evidence to satisfy all of their requirements for inclusion of O&G on the list. I’m still trying to figure out if this means that O&G can be hidden under headings such as “seasoning”. Full details of what they did find can be found at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/label-etiquet/go-ao/index-eng.php. It’s a bit dry I’m afraid. It also gives a bit of background about the chemicals / proteins that are involved for anyone that’s interested.

    Things may have moved on a bit scientifically since then – is anyone from a country where O&G are included as allergens on food labelling? It would be really useful to know where. Also, is anybody else reading this based in Canada? Only 14 respondents to the public consultation mentioned anything about O&G. I’m betting that it affects a lot more people than that.

    To anyone that’s on LinkedIn, perhaps you’d like to add your comments to a discussion that was posted a few days ago which prompted me to Google O&G intolerances again and find this group. The discussion is called “Onions and garlic: bad for your breath but great for your health. Recent research proves it. Would you agree?” and can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Onions-garlic-bad-your-breath-2060240.S.271739617?qid=a493d225-86f3-4188-9416-b3f552f3acaf&trk=groups_items_see_more-0-b-ttl. So far it only has comments about the positive health benefits, so it would be great to let more people know about the negative effects for some too.

  30. I’m so glad I found this! I’ve been allergic for almost 15 years I guess. Or at least KNOWN allergic through allergy testing. I carry an epi-pen now. In the begining I could pick onion out of my food; then I just couldn’t eat it; and the past few years I can’t even smell it without having an allergic reaction. I get hives (usually around my throat and down my chest and arms), a burning sensation to my skin (particularly my cheeks) and my chest gets very tight and painful when breathing. If I accidentally eat them (usually by people “testing” me) then its all that plus all the G/I issues. My family has become very supportive and host onion free holidays so I can come to the festivities but other people aren’t always so supportive….

  31. I take care of a senior, he needs 24/7 care. and he had told me he was allergic to onions. the other day. he had taken a bit of a sand which from mcdonalds and it had onions on it, after asking for no onions.
    a few seconds after he taken the bit and noticed the onions on there. he started acting like he was gonna pass out and his heart was gonna stop. he held his heart and acted as if he were going to throw up. as i took him to the hospital. he then said it was hit stomach that was hurting. and the hospital gave him morphine and other things, he then asked to be released cause he felt better.
    after reading the above story/statement i think he might have been acting out more needed. he said he almost died cause of 1 bit.
    is this true that someone allergic to onions can die from one bit.
    and the onions were cooked as well. they were not raw.

    1. Under the right circumstances it seems possible to me if other factors were at play (poor health old alcohol or drugs) I felt scary close to heart attack symptoms once

  32. I’ve suffered from a serious allergy to onions most of my life, though my symptoms are slightly different than those described above, in that handling them isn’t terrible for me. Eating onions, especially red onions, makes my stomach feel like it’s on fire, or getting eaten by piranhas, or I’ve eaten nails… some combination thereof. Cooked, raw, it doesn’t really matter. I feel like I’m going to die when I eat them, which does happen occasionally as I forget to look for them. Luckily, my family and friends all know to help keep a look out, but when I miss it, woo boy.

    A doctor once explained to me that should I eat an entire onion, it would most likely kill me, so to answer your question Theresa, it might be possible. I doubt it, though. I’ve eaten burgers with onions on them before, and I’m definitely not dead the last time I checked. You FEEL like you’re going to die, that much is certain. Sometimes you can suffer shortness of breath, an acidy taste in your throat, and a feeling like you might vomit at any second.

    I’ve found that drinking chocolate milk helps calm it. I have no idea why, but it seems to help. Regular milk doesn’t, but chocolate milk does. Also, holding my breath and gulping in additional air before letting it out slowly does help a bit as well. I don’t know if that will work for anyone else, but it does help me a bit.

    1. Thank you Matt! You have the same reaction I do. After eating onions, shallots, or green onions, not immediately but after a couple of hours, my stomach feels like it’s on FIRE. This lasts for two days along with the nausea & diarrhea. I’m just discovering this allergy/intolerance so I am still reasearching the subject. Thank you for your accurate description of your experiences with the onion family. Now, I know this isn’t “just in my head”! I will try the antihistamines, chocolate milk, cranberry/pomegranate juice…anything to help this burning in my stomach to go away. Thank you, thank you.

  33. In a way glad to see that there are others like me only met 4 people in my life who are – usually people do not understand that I am allergic not I just don’t like and eating out is a nightmare – with people not listening etc – my in laws are also continually going on and on about it like I want this. Thank heavens I am not alone – it does seem to be getting worse the older I get and so may have to get an epi-pen I think as so many foods previously I could eat have now decided to add onions to them. Hey ho

  34. I have recently discovered I’m allergic to onions and it’s going to take a while getting used to, I’m still in the maybe just this one time won’t hurt phase then I pay for it big time. I have always loved onions and added them to every meal, onion rings, French onion soup and even used to bite into onions like they were apples when I was a toddler, I just love oinions! I suffered a lot with irritable bowel syndrome in my early teens and ended up with a stomach ulcer which was of course very unusual for a 12 year old but my doctor insisted it was from anxiety. I was a very sick kid but up until recently I was suffering from terrible diarrhoea that lasted 3 months before I decided to see a doctor. I haven’t had the hives my symptoms are just diarrhoea, stomach cramps and slight wheezing. Interesting to point out I’ve had problems with acne but my skin is starting to look much healthier (I guess trying out this beauty tip and rubbing onion on my face a few years back was a ginormous mistake haha) but yes this site has helped me a lot with understanding this weird allergy.

  35. My reaction is a bit weird – I become crippled with hatefulness. My onion hangover. My husband jokes about putting on his armored suit should I discover I’ve just eaten something onion :( Minced and the powders are the worst!!! I have a son who will get a migraine headache from the dried onions. Wine is another food item that will give me the “uglies”

    1. Mine trigger as a migraine as well! My doc refused to test for it and just suggested i carry bendryl with me. he said i can’t overdose and it won’t harm me with prolonged use. Usually about 15 minutes after ingesting a piece of onion my neck begins to get stiff and slowly creeps and intensifies until i have a pounding head ache, upset stomach and my entire body will ache sweat and shake. Now i always carry benedryl and it works like a charm. Im am also constantly getting “Tested” by friends and family who think it is made up. My mom went into anaphylactic shock from one bite of an enchilada that she was promised didn’t have onion. Then when she had a stroke she was served onions in her meal by the same hospital that treated her anaphylacia, even though she had onion allergy listed on her chart and her menu request. I’m bookmarking this page and going to share it with all the naysayers.

  36. I didnt see any mention in this article about smelling onions. It took me years to even realize I had an onion allergy and at first I thought it only caused an upset stomach. At work last year, I had to use dried onions and dried garlic on various products. I noticed with a week that when I opened a case of dried onions that I was getting headaches. Once I identified the source, I was about to determine that after opening the box it took less than 15 seconds for a severe headache to develop. Then I realized I was getting headaches from the oven as well. The onion fumes caused a headache, but the roasting garlic nearly killed me.. which is odd because I did not get headaches opening the garlic cases (perhaps because they were damp and not dusty) Since then, I have had to leave a Chilis mexican restaurant do to a severe reaction to onion fumes in the air, and now I cannot be anywhere near a Chipotle restaurant.. even outside the building I will develop headaches from the cooking exhaust. After eating onions my stomach freaks out, and I end up in the bathroom within 30 minutes where I basically lose everything I ate during the last day. Furthermore it prevents me from digesting correctly for the following 2 days. The onion smell comes out my pores after eating them, and not only can I smell onions, the smell makes me sick. I ate a ssub from Primo subs 2 days ago and had a reaction.. there was no onions on it, the ham was real as well as the other meats.. The salami hower was composite meat, and had onions added in the meat itself. Im with Chef Ramsey in the sense that there is no place for onions or garlic in any formal meal.. they are disgusting and they stink, and they make people who eat them stink. I can tell in an elevator if anyone ate onions. I was house sitting awhile ago, and they had garlic gloves in a bowl in the kitchen. It was giving me headaches every day to I put them in tupperware containers. I could still smell them a week later and I ended up throwing out all their onions and garlic. The only safe meat is meat cliced directly off the roast, turkey or chicken.. any liquified or reformed meats have onions added while they are being ground up in the vat.

  37. I have the same allergy to onion, but I recently discovered I can eat chives with no problem and I have been eating onion powder for years without incident. But thats it, any other type of onion makes me really sick and feel like I’m on deaths door. No one in my family believes that is for real, they all think this is something I have made up just to get out of eating the “greatest vegitable in the world.”

  38. I have read a lot of comments on this site but unfortunately none of them match with my onion allergy symptoms. After eating a raw onion, even if its a small little piece, I gradually start to develop flu like symptoms. Mostly, they develop overnight. Next morning I wake up with a sore throat, headache, feeling feverish, lethargic and so on. I used to go to family physician and he always prescribed me antibiotics for it (they worked) but I have stopped now..ever since I diagnosed myself with onion allergy. Symptoms resolve over a week or so..but that week is just hell, feeling so weak for the next 2-3 weeks..just like a flu.

    Nobody else experience these symptoms? There has to be someone! Please reply if you read this. We ordered pizza today and my half was without onions. But, as I bit into my third slice I tasted onions and I immediately stopped eating. I am scared now that I am going to get sick so I already took over the counter cough/sore throat syrup and cepacol lozenges. Hopefully I won’t get sick. :(

    1. Hello–just wanted to let you know (me) that you’re not alone w/your response to onions. I have experienced reactions similar to some of what you described to both onions and garlic–especially in their raw forms. Since I don’t have the stomach pains/diarrhea/vomiting other people describe, it took me a LONG time to figure it out.

      For what it’s worth my symptoms include feeling run down, like I’ve got a hangover or I’m getting the flu or a cold. I also experience some tenderness (lymph node swelling?) in my neck and some achiness/stiffness in some of my joints (I think my fingers is where I notice it the most). I’ve also noticed some drainage–again, as if I’m getting a cold. Even when I’m cutting up raw onion–before I’ve eaten any, the fumes start to cause the reaction immediately. The symptoms seem to last a day or so. I believe that it’s much less a problem when the garlic or onions are cooked, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to stop enjoying my homemade salsa (which includes both raw onion and garlic!).

      I noticed a similar feeling last night and today and I am in the process of trying to determine if it’s a reaction to the sulfites in the dried apricots I put into some homemade scones. I did have someone tell me some yrs ago that onions are high in sulphur. Hmmm…Anyway, I was glad to see that someone else experiences similar symptoms to my own where onions are concerned. I feel truly bad for those of you who have the more severe reactions. :(

      1. P.S. Personally, I have no worries about getting sick because of my response to onions/garlic. Now that I know what to expect, I try to keep it in mind whenever I eat them–especially in their raw form. It’s not a “fun” feeling, but it’s certainly not the terrible pain a lot of folks apparently experience, and I love onions too much to even contemplate taking them out of my diet. I use both (we especially love the sweet yellow onions) in many, many of my recipes (spaghetti sauce, pot roast, fresh salsa, etc.)–for me at least–I can live with my symptoms for now and I’ve never noticed myself getting truly sick (lowered immune system) after my onion/garlic “hangover.”

        (I will however switch back to my health food store sulphur dioxide-free dried apricots in the future.)

        1. No offense, but you aren’t really contributing to this conversation. People here are not just getting heartburn or something like that. Try truly going without onions (read labels on everything) for 30 days it will have some effect on how you feel I’m sure and you will be forced to learn new ways of flavoring your food.

        2. Sorry didn’t see PS you did have good contributions but why would you fight giving them up it doesn’t seem like your symptoms are mild they sound serious salsa can be good without onions and garlic I make it weekly!

    2. I used to have the same reaction! Shortly after eating raw onions, I would feel like I was coming down with the flu. Nausea, headache, feverish, tired and brain fog. Just miserable. I have recently become much healthier while trying to conceive and my allergy has been cured! I think it has to do with all the probiotics I am now taking. I ate raw onions as a child with no problem. Then after several rounds of antibiotics in my late teens I developed the allergy. Now, in my 30’s, I am digesting my food so much better and feel healthier overall. I just ate raw onion for the second time this week with miraculously no reaction and decided to google and see if anyone else figured it out too. I wish you luck!

  39. My daughter developed an onion allergy when she was 7. Since then I have discovered so many things about the onion, including it being in the alium family. This basically means that anything that grows from a bulb could be suspect. She also had a milk allergy, so basically everything is cooked from scratch. I made the mistake of letting her try a dairy free powdered protein shake at the health food store. It must have contained a lot of something in the alium family because after a sip she had the worst stomach cramps, the double-over variety, that lasted for about an hour. Discovered that asparagus was in the alium family after a reaction to it one night. Then discovered aloe is also in that family. If you have a full fledged onion allergy, you will not be able to eat onion, garlic, leeks, chives, asparagus, etc, etc. without some kind of reaction, hers is typically excema or hives. On the bright side – think how much healthier you are because just about everything you eat has been made from scratch without all the food additives.
    I have made spaghetti sauce for years without onions and garlic and added extra celery, green peppers, carrots, even mushrooms, and people are amazed how good it is. Now that I am older. I just wish the ingredient print was bigger so I could actually read what the ingredients are.

    1. You might want to consider that she has a sulfite sensitivity. It is in shampoo and soap. I would purchase organic shampoo without this ingredient and see if she improves.

    2. Plea don’t take anything for granted. I am allergic to milk and onions of any kind including leeks. I am not allergic to garlic and asparagus. When I was a child I was treated for ulcers, told I had high Protien and was put on medications. The entire time it was 2simple food allergies. I am over 50 and was 25 when I quit drinking milk and was 45 when I ended up in the hospital from Eating Red Onions. Restaurant and fast food staff cross contaminate by using the same prep area and knives after cutting onions, wiping off the surfscr or knife is not enough it has to be disinfected or cleaned with soap. Please pay attention because I end up with severe diarrhea and hive at least 50% of the time after dining out. M mother cooked with onions and I had stomach problems until I grew up and moved out. she meant well and had she known about my allergy, blame the MD’s my childhood would have had alot less drama. good luck. Trust your daughter when she tells you she can’t tolerate a type of food. wish I had a cure but carry lots of Benadryl with you at all times and get an Epi pen from her MD. Good Luck

  40. Im so glad there is a post about this. Very few people believe me. My own family think i just don’t like it and im being dramatic, so they go ahead an “test” me and make dishes with onions and tell me its onion free. Most of the time i get a reaction just smelling the dish. My nose will itch and burn. Other times i cant tell and i eat it, and within sec my ribs feel like they are being crushed into dust. Then i ask why would you lie and they just brush it off. They have no idea how painful it is and i have had to learn how to deal with it. My throat us to close up, but it doesn’t anymore. Can this mean im growing out of it?

  41. None of the posts I’ve read mention sneezing. Preparing for yesterday’s Thanksgiving meal, my husband chopped a cup of shallots for me, and left the bowl uncovered on the counter. My eyes started burning so badly even though I was in the back of the house. Eventually my eyes stopped watering, but this was followed with almost 3 hours of uncontrollable sneezing! I was miserable!! I used a netti pot to “wash” my nasal mucosa which helped, and we aired out the house by opening windows and turning on fans (even though it was below freezing outside). And he covered the bowl of shallots! I took an Actifed and drank some Sprite (both of which help with my seasonal allergies which are also sometimes associated with uncontrollable sneezing episodes), went outside for 20 min and stayed far far away from the kitchen for as long as possible. Luckily, the sneezing subsided in time for me to get the cooking started! I’ve never had this happen with any other form of onion and I can eat asparagus just fine. Very odd!

  42. oh my god, i weep when i read this, thank you to all for posting….i thought i was a freak , alone with this….people accept peanut, milk etc allergies but when i tell them about onions, they do not believe me and have to do song and dance to explain….i can not eat alone when dinning out for the fear of a reaction,,,,i can not have onions in the home,,,,the reactions affect my breathing, my vision, hearing and my heart feels like it is pumping through my chest,,,,then sweating and fever type affects,,,i have to take the medicine and go take a cold shower. then i have big problems control my bowel and stomach,,,and much pain….very embarrassing when out with friends.
    i have found drinking a lot of coffee helps, everyday for it seems to slow the affects when i am around onions,,,it is a stimulate and maybe that counters in some way,,,i do not know the science, but it helps me. it helps for the small exposures but an antihistamine for the bad times.

    1. Exactly same for me a couple beers can help but that is as bad as coffee for my sleep and this always occurs late in evening or middle of night

  43. I love onions. Extra onions on everything! But when I get through eating them I get horrible stomach pains, dizziness and I feel kind of out of it. I’m glad I saw this, but bummed out that it had to be onions.

  44. I found out from doing “the plan” diet that it was onions that caused my severely itching skin. For all my life, I thought it was skin sensitivities…blamed on detergents and so on. I am also allergic to fragrances (burning candles, perfumes, etc) but didn’t know about onion allergy. I was happy to see this post to see the other symptoms which I did not pay attention to, until now. Most interesting to me is the onion powder = inch powder for me. This week alone, I had two reactions and found ingredients my husband unknowingly used had onion powder, so beware. Garlic seems to be fine. Thanks for the post!

  45. Christmas is coming and that means family gatherings and more onion prepared dishes. (Polish heritage. I think onions were historically their mainstay.) My family, most in the medical field, believe I am over reacting when I say I really can’t stand onions. (Mostly raw ones.). Headache, digestive distress, and blisters in my mouth don’t convince them. As soon as I return home, I wash all of my clothes, which makes a big difference.

    I glad I am not the only one out there!

  46. Has anyone ever heard of sulfites and sulfates? Onions and garlic contains these. Your body might be building up too much sulfites in the body. I have a sulfite allergy. I love onions and garlic. I am able to tolerate them in small doses if I avoid a lot of sulfites in my daily diet. Sulfites are used as a preservative in many things. Also, they are in shampoo and soap. Sulfites are under many different names in foods. So read the labels carefully. If it end in the letters ates or ites, its probably a form of sulfite or sulfates, ex. phosphates.

  47. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one suffering from an onion allergy. However, I’m wondering if I’m allergic or not now. I was diagnosed as being allergic to tomatoes and onions. In their raw form, they both make me vomit violently. Onions also give me gas something terrible but I think that’s just an inherent side effect of the onions themselves. Here’s where it gets tricky, I have no other allergies to anything in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, etc…) and I’m not allergic to garlic in any form or fashion. I can actually eat raw garlic and it not bother me at all. Plus, I can cook the onions or tomatoes and I’m fine. Also, ketchup poses no issues but salsa can make me sick if it’s not prepared properly. A natural foods expert told me that most salsa’s have lime juice in them and that may be “cooking” the tomato and onion in salsa enough through natural chemical reaction to make it “safe” for me to eat. But, some salsas will have the same effect as me ingesting raw tomato and onion. So, anyone have any ideas?

    1. Mike~ It may have to do with whatever the plant is using to stabilize the salsa they’re jarring. Or it may be the way in which the vegetables themselves are cut (all passing through a knifing process together or cut then assembled further on), it may be the type of onion being used in the recipe.

  48. I too am highly allergic to onions but have no adverse reaction to garlic. The problem I have is Cross-contamination when eating a restaurant or as a guest at a party or dinner. I break out when exposed to raw Red Onions, I do not have to touch or eat red onions to experience breathing problems and hives. Not properly cleaning food prep area’s seems to be the reason I can’t dine at some of our favorite restaurants. I have watched the staff cut onions and then use the same prep table and knife to cut my sandwich in half. I keep Benadryl with me at all times and have had to go to the emergency room for a few occasions for more severe reactions. I always inform the wait staff and counter staff of my allergies – some take me seriously and others act annoyed – when this occurs I get up and leave. It has taken me years to understand that I have to be responsible or my evening and the next day is ruined.

  49. Gary- that is because onions and garlic are not in the same plant family. Why people associate an onion allergy with a garlic alleregy is confusing to me. I have a raw onion allergy, but I am ok with garlic raw or cooked no problems. I can not however, eat asparagus raw as it is in the onion family. Cooked asparagus fine…..If you have an onion allergy, you more than likey to be allergic to plant life in the onion family raw because they share a similiar protien.

    1. Actually they are – Allium cepa (onion) and Allium Sativum (garlic). For as long as I can remember I’ve been allergic to all of the Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, and chives) unless they’re thoroughly cooked. (And I seem to have a different definition of “thoroughly cooked” than a lot of restaurants.) I get some of the gastrointestinal reaction people have described, plus blinding headaches, feverishness, and worst of all swelling, itching, and pain in my throat and sinuses. It feels like having hives on the inside and lasts for days. What drives me nuts is the number of restaurants that garnish food with chopped scallions and chives even when you tell them you are allergic to them. Thankfully, my family all take my allergy very seriously.

  50. So happy to find out about this website and that
    I’m not alone. Since birth I threw up every time I ate onions my mum said. Smell gives me massive headache, cooked or raw. I can gag from taste of salad food in restaurants, even though there is no onion on my plate, but the same knife has obviously been used to cut onions. I don’t eat any onion family and don’t have them in the house. I still get strange looks from people when I say I’m allergic – particularly chefs. I’m used to that now, and don’t care. 52 years of age now and onion free!

  51. The standard allergy test (different samples of foods,etc, then a pinprick to se if a welt is raised by any of the samples) did not include a sample of onion (or eaw fruits),so “Its part of growing old.???”Thanks all for verifying the allergy/sensitivity!!!

  52. Every day, I prepare meals based on recipes that don’t include onions or garlic, because she suffers severe headaches from ingesting onions. Curry and Cumin may taste odd to most Westerners, but they are a healthy alternative.

    As for myself, sometimes, when I’m near a deli, some very severe symptoms manifest. First, my eyes begin to water uncontrollably. Then, my sinuses go Niagara Falls. This is followed by an intense itch in my throat which causes me to begin coughing uncontrollably until I exit the store and breathe outside air. It has only happened a handful of times but, its very painful and frightening. Not to mention embarrassing. Has anyone else ever experienced this plight?

  53. I became allergic to onions, I believe, as aresult of rheumatoid arthritis. The intolerance reaction predated the actual diagnosis by several years, but more intolerances developed as the RA went on. Yes. -Z-…I have had the coughing fit trying to slice onions at my niece’s graduation party. Became nauseous and weak too. Onion-free since 2000. Recently idntified gluten intolerance as a trigger to grand malaise RA. Gluten-free since August. Beef intolerance since 2002. No red meat since 2003.

    Told the rheumatologist, “So far…Ok…No more onion rings, hamburgers, canned soup and crackers…but if I become allergic to scotch or chocolate, that is IT!! I WILL kill myself.” Some doctors seem to have so little sense of humor.

  54. I first noticed I had issues of the GI type after eating onions about 3 years ago. Since then, it has gotten worse and worse, to where now, at 35 years old, if there is even onion powder listed as an ingredient I get very sick. Eating out is an absolute nightmare. I feel like I may have to live on Rice Chex and Cottage Cheese for the rest of my life. Last night I had a hamburger and fries at a restaurant, and I think they must put onion powder in the burger or something. Heart racing, stomach cramps, awful gas, etc. I’ve just this week started taking Benadryl after I realize (which is quite frequently) that I ate something unsafe. Hoping to see an allergist soon. I’ve been tested a couple times and always came up negative for onion allergy.

  55. My son, who is now 14, has just been diagnosed with onion allergy after we reported we were suspicious of this vegetable. He has always rejected raw onions, but loved friend onion rings (though not the upset stomach afterwards). Since he is allergic and sensitive to many foods, it took a while to pin this one down. But, we verified it and am now trying the monumental task of avoiding onion. It is in everything! It is in almost all breaded items (bread crumbs, breading on food items, Worcestershire Sauce, Ketchup, soups, broths, stocks, pasta sauces, and other more obvious foods such as salsas). I am starting to wonder if I am sensitive to them too as I can’t eat them raw without reliving it for what seems like days. Can’t get the taste out of my mouth. I have lupus and lots of other allergies, so I am not surprised he has some immune issues too. As an aside, he used to spit out eggs every time I tried to feed them to him as a baby and it turns out he is off-the-charts allergic to eggs too. So, if kids are strongly opposed to certain foods, it is wise to pay attention to that.

    1. ALL CAPS WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THOSE WORDS “in everything and pay attention to your kids” I was sick entire childhood

  56. My problem is more respitory though I don’t know if it is an allergic reaction. When I am cutting them they burn my throat, and chest ALOT. It does not interfer with my breathing but it BURNS. I also can not keep my eyes open cutting them but I know that is relitivly normal

  57. I couldn’t sleep because of a migraine from this afternoon. I ate at a pollo place for lunch and immediately had a migraine so bad that I became quiet and feared I may not be able to drive myself home. I still have a dull ache on my neck but at least the feeling that my eyes will explode or the nauseous feeling in my stomach is gone.

    I cannot stand the smell of raw onions, never have. BUT! I love the smell of fried onions. I love onion rings, eat the crust and throw the onion away, liver and onions cooking together reminds me of my mom. Raw to me is disgusting.
    I have had the allergic symptoms all my life:
    Eyes Swelling: in a market, in a kitchen, at a picnic, pot luck, party, restaurant
    Lips Swelling: any slight touch to my lips make them look like I got buttock injection (nice right?)-no thanks
    Mouth: inside of my mouth and gums get sore and sensitive, little bumps on the inside of walls of my mouth
    Tongue Burning: if it even get to the tongue – little bumps like when you eat too many sunflower seeds
    Throat?: not sure, the tiniest piece rarely gets through – maybe in powder, ketchup and such it passes?
    Stomach Ache/Bloating: OMG! the powdered onions I use! I use flakes too! I thought I was lactose intolerant but maybe I had cross contamination or ate something with an onion bi-product?
    Stomach: Aches, bloating, gas, diarrhea
    Skin: itchy skin on face and legs
    Kissing: someone who just ate onions is disgusting and makes me want to vomit
    Smell: I can smell raw onions from the other room and my allergies start
    Clothes: on people who work in the food industry if I simply walk by them it makes my stomach turn
    Kitchens: chopping onions or someone chopping, in a refrigerator, in a bowl next to me, at a food stand I have to walk away, hold my breath, excuse myself, cover it up or someone to remove it or cover it
    Contamination: any object or even my hands or someone’s hands that smell of onions makes me nauseous

    I am so relieved that tonight I googled this and found that I am not going crazy. I too had experiences with family that tried to trick me into eating or lied because they didn’t want to make an exception or the time to make a separate plate for me. I grew-up hating tuna sandwiches, potato salad, macaroni salad, stews, guacamole, Mexican ceviche, my mom’s tuna tacos, for fear of a reaction. I know there are numerous other meals I have passed or missed because it contains onions.

    Sure, early in my relationships during the “honeymoon” stage my boyfriends thought it was so “cute” how I picked at my food. After a while they always got tired of it. I was also eating cold meals by the time I was done picking!

    Restaurants: I ask if the sauce contains (raw) onions, or the salad, sandwich, guacamole or any other meal on the menu has onions and they either don’t know or will ask or don’t think so but will make sure it doesn’t come with onions and the one I love is “it’s pre-prepared with onions” and they can’t make it special. I tell them of my allergy and I also get that strange look or reaction like they don’t believe me. I have on many occasions returned my plate or meal and even driven back on take out dinners to return to get my money back or complain. Sometimes I call from home and I get a name and a verbal promise for a free meal or a discount. And yes when I return the plate they just pick it out and when they bring it back with that look on their face, well then I’m scared to eat it!

    My family used to tease me but now I find that two of my sisters discovered that they too are allergic and I don’t know if they became allergic or have always been and maybe the symptoms are just worse or more noticeable. I know my symptoms are now worse.

    Speaking of kissing: I broke up with guys who refused to stop or not eat onions around me. Worse (to get more personal) is oral s-e-x is out of the question if they consume a lot of onions I can taste it even if they pretend to not eat them. My lips get swollen and there was an ex that I could actually smell it! oops.

    Sweat: If a person is sweaty and I touch them on purpose or by accident I actually get a red burning rash on my skin. That has also included ex boyfriends with sweaty palms – I could not hold their hand.

    I love garlic so I have to keep alert on any reactions that may explain certain symptoms. I recall a time at a new job that I had diarrhea for the first three months, my office was above a Brazilian restaurant. I wonder if my body adjusted to the smells because suddenly it stopped.

    I have also started sneezing more in the last few months so it makes me wonder about the changes my body has been going through now with menopause.

    My only real complaint now (I have learned to live with avoidance) is that I do not understand why so many restaurants supply onions to everything so freely when I will sadly throw it away or give away to someone who will eat it at my table? They don’t put tomatoes on everything, or harmless lettuce. They even ask if you want mayo mustard, why not onions? So many, many times I have forgotten to ask no onions and I have to eat it cold but when I do ask no onions and they bring it with onions, I get so upset that I lose my appetite sometimes. Sometimes I speak with the manager or head chef/cook and ask if they are careful not to chop the onions with the same knife they use for other foods. I CAN TASTE THE RAW ONION IN MY SALAD! Yes I can find the tiniest, smallest most miniscule piece of onion in my bite. I will spit the whole thing immediately into a napkin politely and hide my look of disgust while I cover my mouth to not offend others. I excuse myself and go to the bathroom and run cold water on my tongue, rinse, brush or whatever I can to take the taste off but to no avail because I return to my plate and everything tastes like onions for hours.

    I just ask WHY? Do they serve it and lie to your face? Why don’t people become more aware how serious this is? Has Dr. Oz spoken about this subject? I wish he would and I would love to be on that panel.

    1. Agree with all I can smell one tiny piece on a burger that of course was prepared no onions even wrapped up with other burgers and fries in bag top folded over and of course I can’t even have my food in a bag with someone else’s that have onions not to mention rarely take chance to eat out

  58. I posted this some time ago as a reply & now realise it was buried in the middle of stuff. (not the sharpest knife in the block)
    I have had similar reactions, gas abdominal pain, rectal bleeding etc, since ever I can remember to all onion related products,chives leeks etc, including onion powder juice. I even had a very qualified chef investigate after I experienced symptoms of low level onion ingestion in what was supposed to be an onion free soup in his restaurant. Turned out to be the miropois used to prepare the stock. ( carrot, onion, celery)
    Now here’s the kicker. I reside in Canada where Heinz ketchup & baked beans, HP sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Bisto, Oxo and sundry other products all list onion as an ingredient. The same products in the UK don’t show any onion. Is it just a different labelling requirement, or are the UK products truly onion free? I put that question to Heinz & was told that they do not divulge their recipes, other than as required by law. Go figure! Anyone able to shed some light? PLEASE. I agree with a previous post that garlic is a different plant. I substitute garlic & fennel in many recipes.

    1. I posted to your reply from b 4 so if you find it read it ask companies to tell you only if it includes onion not the entire recipe because you are deathly allergic and if they give you a hassle hang up and call back hopefully get a different person and re word your questions then let em have it if not helpful tell them you will research and make sure not to buy any of their products or products of affiliates (empty threat so what they will respond)

  59. I, too, suffer from a severe reaction to red onions. Its become embarassing a few times when you’re desperately searching for a restroom! However, after suffering with the pain after unknowingly eating red onions, I discovered that by taking probiotics (don’t leave home w/o them!) I get amazing relief! At the first inkling of pain, I take one and if the pain doesn’t subside in 15-20 mins later I take another and the pain subsides and no diarrhea!! Probiotics are AWESOME!!

    1. Susan: I JUST started reading about PROBIOTICS yesterday! I order some pills to see if it will improve my health. I can’t believe what difference probiotics is supposed to make in our bodies. I am going to tell everyone I know as soon as I can see improvements. I have suffered all my life with all kinds of health/digestive issues and have yearned to feel normal. I must start taking the pills with me for those oh so special moments when my stomach reacts to certain foods and we all know that it can happen anytime, and anyplace no matter how wholesome or “fancy” the presentation of some foods are, our system will always uncover the culprit that which is: ONION!

  60. My onion sensitivity has worsened ever year. If I even smell raw onions I become nauseated, headache and find it hard to breathe. If I accidentally ingest onions, I can tell instantly as they burn my lips, mouth and then proceed to rapidly burn the rest of my digestive tract, causing stomach pain, bloating and flatulence. I cannot eat and foods that are prepared on the same grill or use the same utensils with raw onion juice. It worsened after I had my gallbladder out.
    I can sometimes tolerate onion powder or dry onions, but need to have instant acesss t9 a barhroom.Very difficult T9 Est kit original ar a polícia.

  61. My computer suddenly switched to another language… so to continue my thought It is very difficult to eat food that I have not prepared myself (knowing the included ingredients), so it is hard to eat out at a restaurant or “potluck”. I know within a minute if I have ingested anything that has come in contact with onions.

  62. I am 53 yrs old. I used to be able to eat onions and didn’t ever realize a side effect at all. Over the past few years I would eat something with onions in it and find I would get dizzy and fuzzy headed. It took me years to figure out that it was onions causing it. The symptoms have gotten worse, now including massive bloating, cramping, and flu like symptoms some times lasting for the entire next day. It seems worse with dehydrated, onion powder and stronger hotter variety of onions. I can tolerate cooked onions and some small portions of sweet onions and chives in dips and such. I don’t know why i have developed this allergy instead of having it from the very beginning when i was younger. I am glad to have figured it out so i can avoid the problem altogether.

  63. I have been allergic to onions since I was a small child. I am 44 now and my allergy has gotten progressively worse. I cannot have ANY onion at all. If I walk into a place where they are being cooked I cannot breathe. If i touch them raw or cooked, I blister immediately. My family and friends thought it was that I just dont like them til I got rushed to the hospital unable to breathe due to my ignorant roommate frying onions in the house. I am so glad that I am not the only one because its very disheartening when no one believes you. Thank God I can eat garlic!!

  64. Thank you fot posting this. I have been suffering from onion esp. red onion allergy 3years now. No one believes me when i tell them that i cant eat onion because it makes me feel dizzy,my blood pressure goes down and it feels like someone sucks all the energy and vitamins out of me. but I can still eat garlic.. sorry my bad English, im from Finland. I guess i need to go to doctor and get that epinephrine to carry with me just in case.. Thank you!!!

  65. I have linked my allergy to ANTIBIOTICS and STRESS. Everyone with this sensitivity or allergy should look at their history and see if they have had sulfa antibiotics at any time in a good dose. When I am stressed I get worse reactions and at one time at about 30 years old I actually ate some raw red onion without reaction. At this time I was the least stressed I can remember my whole life… I am currently fairly busy and have a fair dose of stress, and have really low tolerance to any of the lily or brassica family.
    I have had an onion allergy since my early 20’s. I am 40 now and find it about the same. I can’t eat raw white or red onions. Nor any form of garlic, leek, or cabbage. Even dried is as bad or worse. Broccoli and cauliflower are also not to good but broccoli is ok in small amounts when cooked.
    Leek is extremely bad and I get very sick from any form of leek even in small amounts.
    All reactions are bloating, ‘anxiety’ like symptoms, with light headedness and cramps. Cold sweats and ‘foggy head’ are also common depending on the volume eaten.

    1. I figured out I was allergic to garlic and onions a few years ago, but I love it. Went out to eat with my wife on Saturday and decided I would get the main dish at the restaurant which was a kebab drenched in garlic sauce, went ok at first(drank a lot of coke with my meal, a guy I met said it helps against the allergy, he lied) I started vomiting and had severe diarria about 4 hrs later , the vomiting lasted about 14 hrs and I still have gas and diarria and it’s now Tuesday, I have to say I am done with garlic and onions, does anyone know of anything that can help( and don’t say drink lots of coke cola either )

  66. I can eat onions in a freshly prepared dish..but if I eat it as a leftover the next day I get a reaction …kind of cramps in the stomach and headache. Has anyone else experienced this?

  67. naturally like your website however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts.
    Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless
    I’ll definitely come back again.

  68. I can’t believe I found this site! I had no idea that there were others with an onion allergy. I’ve had problems with all sorts of food for about 10 years now although when I think back I had stomach trouble in my teens.
    Doctors don’t seem to understand or have any information about onion allergies and have put my troubles down to IBS. I can’t eat onions, onion powder, dried onion, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, brassica so cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, potatoes, bread, maize, sugar, fruit, beans,. At times it seems that everything causes a reaction. Symptoms vary from severe bloating like I’m 8 months pregnant headaches, mood swings, nausea, crippling pain in my gut, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, sweats, depression, flatulence, severe burping all of which is really difficult to cope with. Going out is a nightmare and I get stressed before going out which in turn causes my stomach to bloat even before I’ve gone out!
    I’ve got used to cooking without onion or garlic and I don’t really notice a difference taste wise, I use asafoetida powder as a replacement which is really good and can help with flatulence and constipation.
    After years of cutting out foods with no avail, I’m totally fed up. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

  69. I’m deathly allergic to the whole allium family. (onion, garlic,shallots,chives,leeks, ramps etc)It started as raw onions, then onion/garlic powder, then the whole sha-bang. I nearly died when we discovered how bad it was- seriously, I was flown from the fire station to the hospital. The doctor did a quick scratch test and zapped me with more epi. Not a fun couple of days. The number of foods that contain onion or garlic is astronomical. If it says low fat or no fat- its loaded. Mayo, mustards, ketchup, salad dressings, breading, in boxed mixes, soups, some breads….marinades are the kiss of death.
    Do not down play this as being a little discomfort and nothing major-death and anaphylaxis is major.

  70. My onion/garlic intolerance/allergy developed over 20 years. It took a long time for me to figure out the problem because I love them both and have no immediate reaction. But a day (or even 2 days) later I get a headache (sometimes a migraine) and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. It can last a day or two.
    I wonder why if this is caused by an inability to digest certain proteins, why we can’t take some digestive aid that contains the chemical to digest them.
    It is so hard to avoid them. It seems they are used so much in ethnic foods that it limits my restaurant choices severely. I love to go out with family and friends, but find ordering so hard or impossible. They are every where. I really feel bad for people who can not even take the smell because I often smell garlic outside of certain restaurants.

  71. I have always had a sensitive stomach since I was a young child. I have also suffered from lactose intolerance; which has become worse with time. Over the past ten years I have noticed that my stomach issues have increased in frequency (almost daily). With almost every meal I experience bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea, and swelling in hands and feet. On occasion I would get small water like blisters in my mouth after consuming onions. I happen to love garlic/onions on everything… After reading this I can no longer ignore the fact that the onions/garlic are most likely the culprit. I also noticed that onions tend to come out of my pores days after consuming them. I also gets a similar reaction when eating bell peppers, they tear my stomach apart.

  72. I’ve just develop this allergy. My symptoms include; cramping of the stomach, burning sensation on my ears, a slight headache, excessive gas & loose stools.

    I just avoid raw onions all together however if there are some in a salad and I try to pick them out I still have minor symptoms.

  73. I could eat anything until I was 19 years old. Then I ate at Red Lobster: crab legs and a salad, before going to a teen disco. While dancing, my eyes began to burn and itch. I went to the ladies room and my eyes had lumps (hives) and were swelling closed. My breathing was harsher than usual and I realized I needed medical help. I drove myself to the hospital and by the time I arrived my throat had swelled nearly shut and I was wheezing badly. Thankfully, the nurse had seen anaphylactic shock before and had me in the E.R. with epinephrine shot and benedryl medicine to open my breathing up and help my body to return to normal over the next 2-3 days. I had to take Prednisone pills (a steroid) for 3 weeks to get the swelling down in my face, hands and legs. Then things returned to normal. Unfortunately, the E.R. diagnosed that this reaction was due to shell fish (which I later found out to be incorrect). So a month later I was back in the E.R. with a similar reaction to my mom’s meatloaf made with chopped onions and French onion soup mix. This time, it took more weeks to alleviate the swelling and I felt sick for several weeks, having to live on clear chicken broth and a few green veggies served plain (no spices). This time, the only common element was the salad, so we wondered what was in a salad to make me so sick. It took several E.R. visits to narrow the food elements down to being allergic to onions.

    Today, I am allergic to everything in the onion family, like so many of the rest of onion sufferers. Each time I am exposed to even the scent of onions my body overreacts and wants to expel everything (either sneezing, coughing, throwing up or the runs, as well as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing and blisters in the mouth, throat and esophagus, burning lungs, painful cramps, etc.) The last E.R. visit I went into full anaphylactic shock: my throat swelled nearly closed, my lungs filled with fluid and my heart stopped. Thanks be to God the E.R. doctors, nurses and staff were able to bring me back to the living.

    I avoid onions, staying away from restaurants, moving around grocery stores with caution avoiding onions and onion products, reading all labels and cooking all my own foods using alternative spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, turmeric, cumin, peppers (sweet and hot), basil, oregano, olive oil, sesame oil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and focus on green vegetables like spinach, swiss chard, broccoli (and cauliflower), green beans, sugar snap peas, zucchini as well as carrots and squash. I love the variety of flavors!

    The only thing that helps me is to avoid onions all together. So my husband and I go on dates and gather with friends and family at coffee houses, tea houses, and ice cream stores. My husband also enjoys grilling, so we invite folks over for grilled meat dishes along with my veggie side dishes. Everyone enjoys the food and stays for the homemade sugar free desserts that round out our healthy lifestyle. We use Splenda instead of sugar in all our recipes and they have been well received by all. It has been fun learning new recipes and sharing our favorites with our guests.

    Life without onions can be fun and engaging with a little creativity. Even so, we can never expect others without allergies to understand how severe the onion allergy is for us. How can they understand something they have never experienced? Trust only the food you prepare in your own kitchen after reading all labels carefully, then serve it to family and friends with flair and a smile. Everyone will enjoy it!

    Best wishes to you and your loved ones for love, joy and happiness in life’s journey together.

  74. Omgsh !! The struggle is real !! As we speak I’m dying internally over three onion rings I ate a few hours ago. I get SEVERE cramping (wakes me from a dead sleep) gurgling diarrhea and I am plagued with the symptoms for hours at a time. No swelling or itching… Just bloating gas and above symptoms. I have been this way with onions all my life. Only until my 20’s did I put the reaction together. Garlic at this time just severe gas. I have found that gas ex and charcoal caps help with the gas symptoms of garlic. As far as the onion funk I suffer through it until my system is rid of it. I take antihistamines daily for allergies NEVER have they helped with the onion funk. To be safe I normally ALWAYS steer clear of onions and any onion products. The after effects aren’t worth it. I only like a few onion rings every now and then. I have found that my reactions have worsened as I’ve gotten older.

  75. I seem to only react to red onions. And the severity of my allergic reaction depends on the potency of the red onion. A mild red onion will cause gas and mild headache while a strong red onion will cause nausea and dizziness with mild gas.

  76. My reaction to onion is slightly different – migraine, vomiting and diharrea (all together, yay!) which can last for over 24 hours.

    Raw onion is the worst – to the point where I can’t even stand the smell now so am unlikely to eat it.

    I can eat garlic but have to be careful that it doesn’t contain any green shoot (which should be removed anyway as it is bitter) which will produce a reaction. Can’t eat chives either.

    I’ve been told that this reaction may be linked to a previous bout of food poisoning which my body now links with onion and now reacts as if I have food poisoning if I eat onion.

    For those missing garlic type flavours in their food. There is a spice called Asafoetida (known in India as Hing) which can be used in tiny amounts (because it is VERY potent). It isn’t part of the allium family.

    As an aside, I see some posters are having problems with family members “testing” their allergy by giving them onion. Wow! This is bullying and downright nasty. It might even come under assault (depending on your laws) if they are knowingly giving you something that will make you sick. Onion might be toxic to you but so are these idiots. I hope this nastiness is no longer a problem for you all.


  77. My husband has always felt he had an onion allergy, making him gaggy, hyper GI secretions, etc. After finishing dinner out last night, he felt full and crampy, lightheaded, and actually passed out. Was sweaty, etc, came out of it quickly. He then remembered he had a bit of the cole slaw, but stopped because it was so heavy with onion. Has this ever happened to anyone? I now take his allergy very seriously after reading these comments.

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