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Safflower Oil Allergy

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Safflower Oil Allergy
An orange Safflower used to make Safflower Oil. Photo Credit: StudioBarcelona/iStock/Getty Images

Safflower oil is commonly used as a natural laxative and for cooking. The website Drugs reports that safflower oil can cause an allergic reaction, manifesting in the form of rhinitis, hives and asthma. Most symptoms develop with in a few minutes or up to an hour after ingesting safflower oil. If you experience adverse reactions after using safflower oil, discontinue use and talk with your doctor.

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Safflower Oil Allergy

An allergic reaction to safflower oil is caused by an overreaction to the substance by the immune system. The immune system doesn’t recognize the oil as a harmless substance and attempts to ward it off, according to MedlinePlus. The immune system begins to defend itself by producing antibodies. The antibodies signal mast cells to create histamine, a hormone that causes inflammation in soft tissues in the body. Excessive amounts of histamine are the main cause of allergy-related symptoms.


Rhinitis is a common symptom of a safflower oil allergy, causing nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose, eye irritation, post-nasal drip and sinus headaches. Allergic skin rashes, such as hives or eczema can develop as a result of a safflower allergic reaction, according to the Drugs website. Hives and eczema both cause inflammation in the skin that is extremely itchy and elevated. If scratching opens the skin, the body may is vulnerable to secondary skin infections. Asthmatic reactions, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing may also develop as a result of a safflower allergy.


In order to properly confirm and diagnose a safflower allergy, you may have to participate in allergy testing. The two main tests used to diagnose an allergy are skin tests and blood tests, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A small amount of safflower oil is placed under the skin to see if it causes an adverse reaction, such as inflammation. During a blood test, you are exposed to the allergen and then the allergist draws blood to test it for high levels of IgE antibodies.


MedlinePlus states that the most effective treatment for a safflower oil allergy is to identify it and then avoid consuming or touching the substance. All the symptoms of a safflower oil allergy can be treated with antihistamines. Rhinitis is also treated with decongestants that alleviate nasal congestion. Skin rashes are treated with hydrocortisone or corticosteroid creams to reduce itching and swelling.


If you experience hives, shortness of breath and dizziness after consuming safflower oil, you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that could lead to death.

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