Even though mushrooms are highly beneficial, a very small percentage of people across the world develop an allergic reaction. For children, a mushroom allergy commonly disappears in a few years but this type of allergy which develops during adulthood usually persists for life.
Some people who experience an allergic reaction to a mushroom will most likely have similar reactions to all mushrooms as well as other types of fungi, such as yeast or molds that are present in grapes and cheese.
Symptoms of a mushroom allergy
This type of allergy is not usually life-threatening, but the symptoms and signs can cause a lot of discomfort for the sufferer. The symptoms can be triggered by eating mushrooms, skin contact or inhaling reproductive fungal spores. Symptoms may appear within half an hour to two hours after consumption and last for a few hours. Symptoms include:
- swelling of lips, tongue or mouth;
- difficulty breathing because airways may swell and lower the oxygen intake;
- burning sensation in your nose or throat;
- stomach upset, vomiting, and cramps;
- itching in your eyes;
- rash or hives;
- anaphylaxis is a rare life-threatening allergic reaction in which the body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body. Anaphylaxis symptoms include – low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, fainting, or dizziness.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, get yourself checked by an allergist.
More than 50 million people in the United States have an allergy of some type. Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies are estimated to affect four to 6% of children. The main cause of this type of allergy is due to the protein found in mushrooms. Once a sensitive individual consumes the mushroom, their immune system responds.
There are 2 categories of food allergies:
- Non-IgE mediated – This reaction causes symptoms but does not involve an IgE antibody.
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated – These IgE antibodies react with a specific food. Symptoms result from the body’s immune system making antibodies named IgE antibodies. Once you know that you have this allergy, it is recommended that you avoid mushrooms completely including other foods, such as – vinegar and foods containing vinegar, cheese (and other dairy products – sour milk, buttermilk, or sour cream), meats, food made with yeast (like bread), sauerkraut, jellies and jarred jams, smoked meats, tree nuts (such as – almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, and pecans), soy sauce, dried fruits such as prunes, dates, raisins, and figs, canned juices, and leftovers that are more than three days old (because they have a higher amount of histamine).
The best prevention is to avoid the above foods. Someone can have both non-IgE mediated and IgE-mediated food allergies.
A skin prick test, also called a scratch or puncture test, analyzes an allergic reaction to as many as 40 different compounds at once. During this type of test, a small quantity of the protein from a mushroom is inserted beneath the upper layer of the skin. If the skin develops a red, raised itchy area, the sufferer is considered to have a positive allergic reaction to that specific compound. The suspected allergy is confirmed via a blood sample that is analyzed in a laboratory and tested for the presence of IgE antibodies.
The IgE test analyzes for the presence of IgE and quantitatively concludes its levels in the blood. Additionally, allergen-specific IgE analysis is done in order to conclude the correct allergen causing the symptoms.
Home remedies and allopathic treatments
Allergies cannot be cured, however, symptoms can be controlled using a combination of avoidance measures and prescription medications, as well as allergen immunotherapy for some patients. The respiratory issues and itchiness caused by allergic rhinitis can be managed with prescriptions medications but food allergies should be handled with dietary changes.
Antihistamines are generally administrated if you have allergic reactions to mushrooms. Furthermore, your healthcare specialist can prescribe a topical or oral steroid to alleviate symptoms such as itchiness and rashes. More importantly, he can give Epinephrine injections when the allergy is chronic.
Home remedies include:
- Essential Eucalyptus oil – its properties include antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, decongestant, antibacterial, antiseptic, and stimulating. It is recommended to dilute eucalyptus before ingesting, inhaling, or applying topically.
- Neti pots – this handy little device is used to cleanse allergens from the nasal cavity using a saline rinse.
- Apple cider vinegar – it is a strong immune booster and gut healer.
- Eat food rich in Quercetin (it is a flavonoid which mimics the anti-histamine properties of some allergy medications) – and vitamin C (this antioxidant minimize numerous allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation associated with allergic reactions) rich foods, like – grapefruit, oranges, papaya, lemons, broccoli, bell peppers, pineapples, cantaloupe, strawberries, apples, kiwi, blueberries, apricots, raspberries, pears, black beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, onions, garlic, cabbage, pinto beans, parsley, and tomatoes.