There are four concepts to keep in mind regarding food allergies, according to Princeton University Dining Services: avoidance, education, awareness and preparedness. If your child has a tomato sauce allergy, your awareness of the problem is the initial motivator that can prompt you to educate yourself more about this condition. Education will increase your awareness of factors that can trigger an allergic response and will enable you to better prepare for situations where allergic reactions might occur.
The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum. Tomatoes are botanically related to potatoes — both are members of the nightshade family of plants. Kids who have tomato allergies may be allergic to potatoes as well. According to Beaumont Health System, ripe tomatoes have a higher concentration of allergens than unripe tomatoes.
A tomato sauce allergy can cause symptoms that are common to many different types of allergy, such as an itchy skin rash, nausea, vomiting, airway constriction, wheezing, and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips. In those with tomato sauce allergies, these symptoms will typically appear within 45 minutes of consuming tomatoes. A study in the March-April 2002 edition of “Allergy and Asthma Proceedings” states that severe allergic reactions to tomatoes are rare, despite the widespread consumption of tomatoes.
A doctor makes a diagnosis of tomato allergy by taking your child’s medical history and observing symptoms. If a tomato allergy is suspected, a diagnostic test may be conducted. This test involves taking blood from the child, then processing it in a laboratory to detect the presence of antibodies to tomato allergens. The results of the test can arrive as quickly as 24 hours.
If your child has a severe allergic sensitivity to tomato sauce, she may be at risk of anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock due to food allergies affects about a million people in the U.S. yearly and can be fatal. The symptoms of anaphylactic shock include difficulty breathing, airway constriction and unconsciousness occurring between five and 15 minutes after exposure to the allergen. Take your child to an emergency room immediately if you suspect she is experiencing anaphylactic shock.
If your child is allergic to tomato sauce, she may be sensitive to latex as well. A study published in “Allergy” in 2001 explored the cross-reactivity to tomato and latex allergens in a group of 40 children and young adults with tomato allergies. Consult your doctor if you suspect your child may have multiple allergic sensitivities.