Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to a specific type of food. Symptoms are generally mild. For others, however, reactions can be extreme and sometimes life threatening. Blueberries contain salicylates, which are natural-occurring chemicals in plants. According to Auckland Allergy Clinic, blueberries have high salicylate content. If you are allergic to blueberries, it is often because you have a sensitivity to this compound. If you consume blueberries and experience allergy symptoms, contact a health care professional immediately for treatment.
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The National Institutes of Health reports that one common reaction to a food allergy is the swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, called angioedema. When you are exposed to the blueberries, your body produces immunoglobulin antibodies and histamines which release into your body, causing the characteristic swollen tissue. The welts are usually painful and may or may not be itchy. The deeper the swelling, the more painful the swelling is. Angioedema may disappear on its own after a few hours or after taking over-the-counter antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medication. If other diseases or ailments are present, angioedema may appear, and blueberry consumption may not be the culprit. Consult a physician if symptoms persist or worsen.
According to the Auckland Allergy Clinic, urticaria is usually symptomatic of a salicylate allergy. They emerge on your skin as transient, itchy wheals or red papules known as hives. Generally, individual hive lesions last a mere 24 hours and leave no mark or visual indication of their presence. Persistently eating blueberries or similar berry fruits that contain salicylate can cause chronic urticaria, characterized by long-standing hive rashes for more than six weeks. Several other causes of urticaria are not confined to blueberry consumption. If hives fail to disappear for an extended period of time, contact a physician for evaluation.
If someone has a strong allergic reaction to blueberries, anaphylaxis can develop where extreme constriction of the airways, swelling of the throat, a severe drop in blood pressure and rapid pulse can occur. Often, dizziness, light-headedness and loss of consciousness precede the swelling.
Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. If swelling in the throat occurs, never wait for symptoms to subside as it can progressively worsen and cut off airflow. Seek emergency care immediately.