Watermelons are one of the most popular fruits in America. They are grown all over the country and they have been used as food since ancient times. There are many varieties of watermelons including but not limited to: cantaloupes, gourds, melon seeds, squash seeds, sweet potatoes and even carrots! These fruit contain high levels of sugar which makes them very appealing to children and adults alike. Watermelons are considered safe to eat because they do not cause any allergic reactions when eaten. However, there are some people who may suffer from watermelon allergy. This condition occurs due to sensitivity to the proteins found in the flesh of these fruits. If you think you might have this problem then you need to get tested.
What Causes Watermelon Allergies?
The exact reason why some people develop watermelon allergy is unknown. Some doctors believe that it could be caused by an environmental factor such as pollen or dust from trees growing nearby. Other experts suggest that it could be due to genetic factors. The best way to test if you have this condition is through blood tests. Another way to check if you have this condition is by taking a skin prick test (SPT). During an SPT, a small amount of allergen is pricked into your skin. If you suffer from watermelon allergy, you will experience some sort of reaction on the affected area.
What are the Symptoms?
There is no single symptom that shows if you have this condition. Some people who are allergic to watermelon experience one or more of these problems:
The most obvious sign of watermelon allergy is hives or welts on the skin. These can be solitary or clustered on one part of the body. These welts usually appear within minutes of consuming watermelon and last for about an hour or so before subsiding.
Another common reaction to these fruits is itching and swelling of the lips, tongue and roof of the mouth. This could last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours.
Some people complain experiencing a scratchy throat and develop difficulty in swallowing liquids.
The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening condition that causes low blood pressure, chest pains, trouble breathing and even shock. People who have experienced an anaphylactic shock should seek emergency medical attention immediately.
A lot of people who experience watermelon allergy also tend to be sensitive to other fruits like tomatoes, peaches and mangoes. These fruits contain similar proteins that can cause allergic reactions.
Treatment for Watermelon Allergy
If you know that you experience an allergic reaction after eating watermelons or other related fruits, visit your physician immediately. He might suggest that you carry an Epi-pen® (epinephrine) with you at all times. This is a device that can be used to inject yourself with epinephrine in case of an emergency.
Make sure that you learn how to use it before you leave the doctor’s office. Your doctor may also prescribe you antihistamines to be taken before eating any fruits from the above-mentioned list. If you know that your condition is severe, he might suggest that you take steroids as well. These drugs help reduce the inflammation and swelling in your body. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, seek medical attention immediately every time you experience an allergic reaction after eating watermelons and related fruits. The quicker you get treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
How to Prevent Watermelon Allergy
As with all allergies, there is no sure way of preventing watermelon allergy. However, you can take certain steps to prevent potential allergens from entering your body.
If you know that you are allergic to watermelons and related fruits, it is best not to consume them at all. Even a small serving of these foods can cause a reaction in people who are extremely sensitive to them.
Make sure to always read food labels. Try to avoid any foods that contain these fruits, or at least avoid as many of them as you can.
If you are attending a cookout and are unsure of the ingredients in the food that will be served, ask the cook about it. Tell him or her about your condition and ask whether they have used any allergenic ingredients to prepare the meal.
Watermelon is a delicious summer treat. Just make sure that you take the necessary precautions if you know that you are allergic to watermelons and related fruits. If you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
If you would like to learn how to manage your condition, set up an appointment with one of our Allergists today.
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