Banana allergy does exist, but it mainly causes problems among individuals allergic to ragweed due to cross-reactivity. The number of people allergic to ragweed is increasing every year.
What is cross-reactivity?
Cross-reactivity refers to the similarity between certain pollens and certain foods, either pollen-pollen or pollen-food. Cross-reactivity means that certain substances can mimic or substitute for other substances, resulting in the appearance of allergic symptoms.
When can banana allergy occur?
Banana allergy can occur primarily in individuals who are sensitive or allergic to latex, leading to cross-reactions.
Common pollen-food cross-reactivities include:
- Birch: peanut, walnut, almond, apple, cherry, apricot, pear, plum, sour cherry, peach, potato
- Ragweed: watermelon, cantaloupe, tomato, cucumber
- Mugwort: cumin, bell pepper, tomato, carrot, parsley, potato, coriander, dill, chamomile, sunflower, melon, cucumber, mango, nutmeg, black pepper, mustard seed, basil, marjoram, oregano, celery
- Grasses: tomato, rye, wheat, soy, peanut, bean, pea
- Peanut: walnut
- Tree nuts: wheat, rye, poppy seed, peanut, sesame seed
- Latex: chestnut, banana, spinach, avocado, lemon, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, mango
What symptoms can banana allergy or allergies in general cause?
Pollen allergy typically manifests with symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itching eyes, scratchy throat, and in severe cases, asthmatic symptoms. On the other hand, in the case of cross-reactivity, the allergic response first occurs in the oral cavity after consuming the triggering food.
The characteristic symptoms include:
- Unpleasant itching sensation in the oral cavity
- Lip swelling
- Tongue swelling
- Throat swelling
- Abdominal cramps
Cross-reactivity occurs in 5-10% of allergic individuals, with birch pollen allergy sufferers being particularly prone to it. In their case, pollen-food cross-reactions are much more common, with a prevalence of around 30%. Apart from respiratory symptoms that last only a few weeks, birch pollen often triggers cross-reactivity, causing symptoms of oral allergy syndrome throughout the year and causing distress to the patient.
How can banana allergy be diagnosed?
According to some data, banana can trigger migraine attacks in sensitive individuals. The scientific literature on this topic is scarce, so individuals suffering from migraines should rely on their own experiences and the recommendations of their healthcare provider.
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