Onion belongs to a species of genus Allium. Onion allergy is alike other food allergies. It is rare but can be fatal. If you are very sensitive, then even onion vapor can trigger reactions in your body.
Onion is used for many purposes. It is one of the widely cultivated vegetables. You use it for cooking, flavouring and preserving. Also, for the treatment of various diseases.
True onion allergy happens to only 3% of the people. It can be triggered by either onion products or containing ingredients.
Few of you may be allergic to onions. Most people feel better when allergen is expelled from their body. In rare cases,allergic reaction lasts for days. Even after the onion has been out of the system.
To know more about the same, we will look into further details.
Table of Contents
Is It Possible To Be Allergic To Onions?
Onion allergy is rare. Only 3% of adults may suffer from this. Raw onion is mostly the cause of allergic reaction. People with onion allergy can’t stand the smell of onions. The immune system of the body reacts negatively to it. But, some people may develop onion intolerance.
Onions belongs to allium family. They are used in several flavouring and cooking purposes. They are also used as preservatives in different foods. However, raw onion is the root cause for the allergic reactions.
Raw onion allergy has more drastic effects. The protein exists in it. The protein departs after cooking or frying. So, a lot of people face no problem after eating cooked onions. Or they show little reaction. Some people tend to develop allergic reactions even if they smell it, without the ingestion of onion in their body.
Onion allergy and onion intolerance are two different things. Many people may be onion intolerant. But onion allergy cases are few.
Onion allergy reacts very quickly within a minute or two. It can be life threatening too. The vapor of onions can create some reaction in the body too.
Onion intolerance is mild. The symptoms may appear after a day or two.
Causes Of Onion Allergy
Raw onion contains protein. To kill this protein, the immune system immediately releases antibodies. IgE comes in contact with the protein. The protein and IgE fights against each other.
As a result Histamine is produced in the body specifically from the gut or skin. The chemical Histamine is produced in an excessive manner. It reacts adversely to the body. This results onion allergy to trigger. The time to start reaction will depend on patient’s sensitivity.
Onion allergy is caused due to –
- Broth or stock
- Pre made sauces
- Pre made soups
- Onion juice
- Frozen turkey
- Canned meat
- Flavoured cheese
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Pre made pizza crusts
- Frozen chicken
- Gardener’s garlic
- Mexican cheese
- Saltine crackers
Onions are also related to the lily family. So, associated plants can also cause onion allergy. Try to avoid:
- All types of lilies
Symptoms Of Onion Allergy
Symptoms can be internal or external. External reactions are from direct contact or smelling onions. Internal reactions are due to ingesting onions. Individual responses differ. Some people have immediate reactions. Others exhibit symptoms after a day. The response of the people to the allergy depends upon their sensitivity to the onions and onion related products
Common symptoms include:
- Lip swelling
- Mental disorientation
- Excessive Burping
- Tongue blisters
- Mouth blisters
- Sore throat
- Puffy eyes
- Breathing difficulties
- Burning sensation on mouth
- Pain and cramps in stomach
- Anaphylactic shock (severe allergy)
- Dry skin flakes
- Swelling on other body parts
- Reflux esophagitis
- Watering of eyes
- Gum blisters
Onion allergy is developed to only 3% of the adults in the world. The people who claim that they have onion allergy are actually intolerant to the onions. This is so because, sometimes, body is not able to digest the onions properly and hence people become intolerant to them.
Diagnosis And Testing
You should get a general survey done first. It is important to diagnose an allergic reaction.
A blood test is one of the methods. The doctor will conduct an IgE blood test. It is the most effective way to detect it. If you are suffering from onion allergy or any sensitivity, then blood test can help in detecting it.
You can get a skin prick test, patch test or intradermal test done. Elimination diet is also necessary. Prefer onion free recipes.
Eliminate all food items that cause the allergy. Avoid all types of onions. inform the cook about your problem. In some restaurants, allergy free food items are available. If the reaction is very severe then there is no alternative. Take medication from doctor.
You can take an antihistamine to treat mild to moderate allergy symptoms. Skin reactions can be treated with hydrocortisone. It reduces the itch and inflammation in the skin. You may need an injection of epinephrine in case of severe allergic reaction.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Onion Allergy
There are some home remedies, which can be useful in treating the allergic symptoms. This includes:
Traditional treatment includes:
- Decoction Of Nettles– Nettle leaves are washed and chopped. They are poured in cold water then brewed 10 hours. The patient drinks this 3 times a day. It is also given as nasal drops
- Powder From Egg Shell– Use white chicken eggs. They should be raw and properly washed. Separate the shell from the inside. Grind it in a coffee grinder.
- Aloe Vera Gel- Apply it over your lips and mouth. It relieves itching and burning.It has anti-inflammatory properties and provides a soothing effect to the affected areas.
- Papayas and Bananas- These helps in digestion. Relieves bloating and gas.
- Lemon Juice and Honey- Mix in a glass of water. Drink twice in a day. Relieves cough and vomiting
- Almonds- Helps to reduce burning sensation. It neutralises the acid in stomach.
- Rose Water and Vinegar- This is used for skin hives and itching. You can apply the mixture on the affected area.
- Bananas- Bananas helps in relieving the condition of bloating. It aids digestion and constipation. In case you feel any of these symptoms, you can consume banana.
How To Prevent Onion Allergy?
The best way to prevent the allergic reactions is to prevent it. Stop consuming the food products which causes the allergic reactions. This will help you in preventing the reactions.
- Avoid onions. Raw or cooked.
- Read food labels.
- Avoid eating out.
- If it’s hereditary, don’t eat onions at all.
- Avoid onions in case of hyperacidity
- Watch out for the flavours, seasoning and preservatives you are consuming. They may also contain onion related substances.
- Avoid consuming any foods related to the similar family as that of onions.
How Long Does It Last?
Allergic reaction may occur within minutes of eating the onion. Sometimes symptoms occur after 2 hours. It may last till 1 or 2 weeks.
Does It Go Away On Its Own?
This depends on the extent to which a person is allergic to onions. If you first develop the allergy as an infant/child , then it disappears with time. Proper treatment also helps in getting rid of onion allergy.
What Are Few Natural Options To Cure Onion Allergy?
Nux vomica is a natural homopathic option. You can use it to treat digestive abnormalities. Nux vomica is also known as poison nut and quaker buttons.
What Can Be Done In Case Of Strong Allergic Reactions?
You can make use of EpiPens. EpiPen is an epinephrine injection.
Albuterol inhaler is effective for respiratory difficulties.
How Faster The Reactions May Occur?
Onion allergic reactions may trigger immediately or can take some time as well. After the intake of onion or related foods, you may experience the allergic reactions. But, it varies from person to person. Some may not experience the reactions for hours.
As soon as you experience some changes in your body or any kind of reactions, you should take the remedies or get medical help.
Avoid an allergic reaction by stopping intake of all foods which contain onions. It is important to know how to handle the allergic reaction.
However, onions are not considered as a major allergy causing food. But to some people, it can be dangerous. Some people tend to develop anaphylaxis due to the allergies. This can be dangerous.
Immediate medical help is necessary when you experience severe allergic reactions and any of the symptoms indifferent from the normal functioning of your body.