What to do if you have a cinnamon allergy?
Cinnamon allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Most people are not aware of it and even those who are, don’t realize how severe their symptoms can become. People with a cinnamon allergy experience allergic reactions when they eat certain foods containing the spice or extract called cassia bark (Cassia angustifolia). Cassia is a tree native to South America. Its bark contains a compound called cassia nutriment which causes allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the face, lips and tongue; difficulty breathing; wheezing; shortness of breath; chest tightness and other signs of respiratory distress.
The first step to treating your symptoms is getting tested for cinnamon allergy. There are two tests available: skin prick test and blood test.
Skin Picking Test
A skin picking test is used to determine whether someone has a cinnamon allergy. A small amount of cinnamon powder is placed on the skin of the affected area.
The person then bites into the patch and pulls out a tiny piece of the patch, which will show if there’s any reaction. The reaction usually occurs within five minutes after being bitten by a person carrying cinnamon pollen from South America.
A blood test is another way to determine whether or not a person has a cinnamon allergy. A small amount of blood is drawn from the arm and tested for antibodies against cinnamaldehyde (commonly found in cinnamon).
The test might not be as accurate or show false negative results, especially in people with severe skin reactions to cinnamaldehyde.
If you are allergic to cinnamon, avoid foods and drinks containing it. Allergic reactions can be treated with an antihistamine or steroid medication.
Make sure to keep an antihistamine on hand and in your wallet. Typically, a person with a cinnamon allergy carries an epinephrine auto-injector around with them at all times (e.g. Epi-pen).
What to do if you have a Cinnamon Allergy?
Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of an evergreen tree. It is a common ingredient in baking, desserts, and other foods. For some people it causes allergic reactions. People with this condition should not eat or drink food or beverages containing cinnamon. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, swelling (especially of the lips and tongue), difficulty breathing, and dizziness. If you think you are having an allergic reaction to cinnamon, seek medical attention immediately.
How is a Cinnamon Allergy Test Performed?
A skin prick test may be done to see if you have a cinnamon allergy. A small amount of cinnamein is placed on your forearm or back and pricked with a needle. This is done to see if you are allergic or not to this substance. The rash or redness that occurs around the area is measured to see if you have an allergy.
Another way to test for a cinnamon allergy is a blood test. A small amount of cinnamein is injected into your body and your blood is drawn to check for certain antibodies that the body produces in response to allergies.
If these tests show that you are allergic to cinnamon, avoid foods or drinks containing it. Also, make sure to always carry an antihistamine with you as well as an auto-injector (Epipen) in case of a severe allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions can sometimes lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. Seek medical help immediately if you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and chest pain.
Antihistamines will help relieve itching and sneezing caused by allergies. Antihistamines taken by mouth are not recommended for children due to side effects such as increased heart rate and agitation.
They may also cause drowsiness.
Corticosteroids are a stronger medication that can block the release of histamines in the body and help relieve allergic reactions. They do have side effects such as weight gain, mood changes, and increased susceptibility to infection.
These medications are usually used for a short period of time only.
Other treatments your doctor may recommend include:
Avoiding triggers such as the food or substance you are allergic to.
Taking medicines before you come into contact with something you are allergic to.
Wearing a Medic-Alert bracelet or necklace.
Immunotherapy, in which you are exposed to tiny amounts of allergens under careful medical supervision. You may receive injections, tablets, or a nasal spray.
Read more about Cinnamon Allergy and other severe food allergies.
Sources & references used in this article:
What information do consumers consider, and how do they look for it, when shopping for groceries online? by Y Benn, TL Webb, BPI Chang, J Reidy – Appetite, 2015 – Elsevier
Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents by KG Noble, SM Houston, NH Brito, H Bartsch… – Nature …, 2015 – nature.com
You Can Do Something about Your Allergies: A Leading Doctor’s Guide to Allergy Prevention and Treatment by N Novick – 2000 – books.google.com