How common is an eggplant allergy?
The good news is that an eggplant allergy is extremely rare.
So the chances for you to contract an allergy is pretty low.
However, you may be one of the few to develop an allergy.
So you need to know what are the symptoms and what you can do about them.
Here you’ll find all of the information you need to understand these and the solutions you can use to reduce their side effect.
I’ll even tell you what other vegetables you can be allergic to if you have eggplant allergies.
Basic information about eggplants
What you need to know is that an eggplant belongs to the nightshade family.
Many think of it as a vegetable. And they are wrong.
Eggplants are fruits and they are known as Aubergines in the UK and France, Brinjal in India and surrounding countries.
They are also called melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash in different parts of the world.
What is interesting is that this fruit is widely used as a meat substitute.
Most vegetarians would, for instance, cook eggplant burgers (instead of our beef burger).
So, as the number of vegetarian eaters is on the rise, no wonder why we are finding more and more individuals are getting allergies associated with this fruit.
So, we all have to be vigilant.
What are the symptoms of an eggplant allergy?
You’ll be pleased to learn that symptoms of an eggplant allergy are very common.
In fact, they are the same as for any other type of food.
But do not be fooled by it. You can develop such allergy at any point in time, whether you are a child or an adult.
Scientists have documented that 6% of children have at least one food allergy (1).
In contrast, about 4% of adults are subjected to one food allergy (2).
You can see that the young are more prone to allergies when compared to the adult generation.
Here is a list of the potential symptoms associated with eggplant allergy:
- mild itchy or tingly lips, tongue, or throat – I have these sometimes and as weird as it can be, it seems that is done to the type of eggplant. So, some eggplants will give you these symptoms while others will not. Try to identify the type of eggplant that leads to this and avoid it. In my case, it is the more mature black eggplant that does have an effect on me. The younger eggplants have no effect at all. You guessed it, I eat only young ones now.
- hives – You surely can survive with hives
- coughing – This is annoying, so better not eat eggplant
- stomach pain or cramping – Depending on the severity, I would eat them occasionally only.
- vomiting – I would personally avoid eating this fruit.
- diarrhea – Very uncommon, but it does happen. So try to avoid eating too many.
Generally speaking, if you are allergic to this fruit, then you will experience one of the above conditions within minutes of eating the eggplant.
Only a few individuals may see some allergic symptom after a few hours of consuming the fruit.
Best common practice in dealing with an allergic reaction to eggplant
In most cases, you can treat an eggplant nightshade allergy with a standard antihistamine pill/tablet.
An antihistamine is a medicine that is used to address symptoms of allergies. Common usage for this medicine are hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis, etc.(3)
One of the most used antihistamines is the diphenhydramine (also known to many as Benadryl).
What if this is your first allergic reaction ever?
First, do not panic.
Second, if this is your first time you are a victim of an allergy to aubergine (eggplant), then sick professional advice (your doctor).
In most cases, your doctor will request a blood test.
It is with this blood test that he will be able to determine if you are truly allergic and the degree /severity of your allergy.
Following from this, they will be able to provide clear guidance on what you should do if you come into contact with eggplant.
Can eggplant allergy lead to anaphylaxis?
Yes. But this is very rare.
Nevertheless, you need to be very careful if you are at risk.
Anaphylaxis allergies are associated with life-threatening reaction.
Here is a list of the symptoms for an eggplant anaphylaxis allergy:
- shortness of breath – This is really painful.
- difficulty breathing – Almost worse than asthma
- wheezing – You’ll feel you have asthma
- facial swelling – You need to wait for several hours before your face deflate. Better take some medicine.
- throat swelling – Can lead to death
- tongue swelling – Can lead to death
- difficulty swallowing – Can lead to death
- weak pulse where your heartbeat is very slow
- dizziness (vertigo) – You can lose some body balance. Sit down and get some medicine
- vomiting – Very uncommon, but dangerous still.
- very annoying rash
- be in shock
- the sense of feeling very weak with no power at all
- some nausea
What to do if you are a victim of an eggplant anaphylaxis allergy?
As bad as the above symptoms may sound, anaphylaxis caused by ingesting aubergine (eggplant) is extremely rare.
Regrettably, the consequences of such symptoms can be lethal and it is advisable to seek immediate medical assistance if you have any of the above symptoms.
If you know what you are doing, and have already been faced by an anaphylaxis, then the best way to save someone’s life is to use an auto-injector (called Epi-Pen).
Such Epi-Pen would inject epinephrine into your system (4).
Epinephrine belongs to a group of medications called alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonists. They are what professionals call sympathomimetic agents (5).
When you inject epinephrine into your system, it will start by relaxing your airways muscles.
At the same time, it will tighten your blood vessels.
Doing both of these will reduce the effect of allergy.
Then get professional advice on the matter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not wait if you are faced with an allergic reaction that is severe. Act right away and administer the medication. If you are not able to do the injection, then call for help.
What are the steps to follow when faced with eggplant anaphylaxis allergy?
This is how to treat an eggplant allergy.
Top priority, seek emergency medical attention right away.
The vast majority of anaphylaxis symptoms develop right away from being exposed to an allergen (6).
So you’ll definitely have a sense of panic. You should act and not think at the time as the person in front of you (or even yourselves) is facing potential death.
Here is what you should do:
- Don’t panic and remain calm. This will help you and the person who is having the anaphylaxis symptoms.
- Call your local emergency services right away.
- Shout for help around you.
- See if the person having the symptoms carry an epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-Pen).
- Help the person inject the medication. Do not think and do it.
- Find ways to ease recovery by helping the person remove any restricting clothing such as a tie, bow tie or other. This should help that person breathe easier.
- Ask the ‘patient’ to lie flat on his back. He may be reticent to do so, but this is the best position for him.
- Now help him to lift their feet up. About 12 inches suffice. Put something underneath his feet if necessary.
- Cover him with your jacket or anything that can help him keep warm.
- If you see him starting to vomit, turn him onto his side.
- Mentally prepare yourselves to perform CPR. You may need to perform it in a matter of seconds.
- Do not give any medications, unless you find an Epi-Pen on them.
- Do not give anything to eat or drink.
One important note – some individuals carry a bracelet similar to the one shown below. Investigate if the person has such a bracelet. It can give you a clue as to what to do.
Where to find bracelets to signal your allergies?
You can find these pretty much at every pharmacy. You can also get them on the web. Please see below table where you can access to these items.
What other foods to avoid if you are an eggplant allergic person?
So now you’ve been to your doctor, did your blood test and your doctor confirmed that you have developed an allergy to eggplant.
Now, you need to remove any trace of the eggplant allergen from your diet.
Easier said than done. Especially when you know that if you are allergic to a plant, then you may be allergic to plants of a similar family.
So eliminating eggplant allergens should help you prevent allergic reactions.
As eggplant belongs to the nightshade family, you should definitely avoid other nightshades. And the bad news is that there are many.
Here is a short list of the nightshades:
- tomatoes and tomatillos
- potatoes (the white ones)
- red pepper and all associated seasonings such as paprika, cayenne, and chili powder
- ground cherries
- goji berries
You may also want to stay away from a naturally produced chemical compound called salicylate.
Salicylate is one of the compounds that is usually responsible for allergies in eggplants.
So you may need to avoid the following:
Note that if you are allergic to salicylate, then you must take every step to avoid consuming it.
And this can prove difficult as it one of the main ingredient in aspirin pain reliever (such as Ecotrin).
You will need to develop a passion for reading food labels.
This is not a pleasure, I know.
But it is your only option. You’ll need to read each label to see if the tin or food proposed does not contain anything that may lead to an allergic reaction.
The worse is to come. If you are allergic, then watch out when dining out.
You must speak to the staff and confirm that all food you are ordering if free from your allergen.
What can I eat if I have nightshade allergy?
Don’t worry, if you are allergic to nightshade fruits and vegetables, there are other solutions. So this is not the end of the world.
Here are a couple of examples of food you can eat:
- Okay, white potatoes are off the table. But why not eat sweet potatoes? You should be safe and they are a great substitute.
- You can eat black, white, and pink peppercorns. These should be a good substitute to red pepper seasonings.
- You may want to eat some root vegetables, such as radishes and zucchini.
- You can also eat celery, some yellow squash, and nice portobello mushrooms.
In this article, we discussed the symptoms to eggplant allergies, eggplant allergy remedy and treatment, and the method to deal with an anaphylaxis.
We also looked at the different nightshade food that you must avoid if you are allergic to eggplant.
We provided you with a list of other foods that you can safely eat.
So, if you have developed an allergy to eggplant, you should be well armed to face it.
Note that most of the allergies to eggplant are minor, and you should not panic when facing them.
Keep calm and act is the best behavior you can have.
If it is the first time you are allergic to eggplant, go to your doctor and ask for a blood test. This will help you in determining the severity and if you truly have this allergy.
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