Ginger is a plant rhizome typically used as a food product and pungent flavoring agent. It can be found in a variety of foods and drinks such as gingerbread, ginger ale and ginger tea. You can also get it in supplement form to help treat conditions such as upset stomach, loss of appetite, nausea and motion sickness. Although it is rare, you might experience an allergic reaction to ginger. Because allergy symptoms can be debilitating, it’s essential to understand why a ginger allergy occurs and how it can be treated.
Check Your Symptoms
Symptoms can include a hoarse voice, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, swelling of the lips, fainting episodes, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, congestion in the nose and throat, bloating and gas. In addition, you can develop inflammation of the eyes and face, skin rashes, a runny nose, vomiting, stomach cramps and itching of the lips, tongue, mouth or throat. Symptoms can vary from mild to extreme. An allergic reaction to ginger can come on immediately after you consume ginger or take a few hours to manifest.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes ginger as harmful. The immune system reacts by releasing substances into the blood that trigger allergy symptoms. Although a food allergy can happen at any time, it typically occurs after eating ginger raw. Symptoms such as dizziness and fainting aren’t always due to allergies. Ginger can lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure, which can sometimes mimic some allergy symptoms.
Treatment Is Here
See your doctor or allergist if you suspect you are allergic to ginger. A doctor can perform a skin or blood test to give you a definitive diagnosis. In the meantime, avoid ginger and any products that contain ginger, such as facial creams and teas. With your doctor’s approval, take an antihistamine to help ease itching, swelling and inflammation. Antihistamine skin creams can be applied topically and can also ease symptoms.
When It’s Serious
Seek immediate medical attention if you develop tightness in the chest, hives, wheezing or breathing difficulties after consuming ginger. Food allergies can sometimes trigger a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Left untreated, anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. If you are diagnosed with an allergy to ginger, your doctor may suggest that you carry an injectable form of epinephrine with you at all times to be used in the event of an emergency.