Can Carrots Cause Allergies?

Carrot pile
A pile of carrots for sale at a market. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Carrots don't make the list of the top six allergy-inducing foods, but some people are allergic to them. People with allergies to carrots typically are also allergic to birch tree pollen, because the proteins in raw carrots are similar to those in birch tree pollen. Cooking destroys those proteins, making carrots safe for most people with carrot allergies to consume.

Symptoms

An allergy to raw fruits and vegetables is usually related to a pollen allergy. This is known as oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food allergy syndrome, according to the MayoClinic.com. Mild reactions include tingling of the lips and mouth or itching or burning of the lips and mouth. More severe reactions can include sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, swelling of the lips and mouth, and even difficulty breathing. Rarely, individuals may suffer anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that affects breathing and requires immediate medical attention. Skin rashes or hives are also rare reactions to carrot allergies.

Risk Factors

People who suffer oral allergy syndrome usually have seasonal allergies, or hay fever, as well. Those with asthma or eczema are also more likely to have oral allergy syndrome. There is a strong genetic component for these disorders, so if your parents have any of these conditions, you are more likely to have them. Many people outgrow food allergies, eczema and asthma as they get older, although adults are often more affected by oral allergy syndrome than children, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Considerations

Continued exposure to carrots after an allergic reaction can increase your risk of developing a serious reaction in the future. Talk with your doctor if you suspect a carrot allergy. He may recommend testing to see if you have other food allergies. Many people who are allergic to raw carrots may also be allergic to celery, pears, apples, kiwi, apricots, peaches, hazelnuts or almonds. In severe cases, the doctor may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector device to carry with you. It contains a small dose of epinephrine, which can save your life if you have a serious reaction, allowing you time to seek medical attention.

Treatment

The best strategy for coping with a carrot allergy is to avoid raw carrots. If you have a child with food allergies, make his caregivers and teachers aware of them and monitor your child for signs of allergies to other foods as well. Consult your doctor before trying alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and herbal supplements. These methods have not been well tested and may not be effective or safe. Take an oral antihistamine if you have a mild reaction after eating carrots, such as itchy lips, but seek immediate medical attention if you are wheezing, having difficulty breathing or experiencing swelling.

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