Citrus Allergy

Common Citrus Allergy Signs: Causes of Food Allergies & Common Allergies and Symptoms Of Citrus Intolerance

Fresh squeezed orange and homemade lemonade can be a tasty and nutritious drink. However, there is a certain segment of the population that is allergic to citrus.

Citrus Allergy

The symptoms can range from mild to severe and even life-threatening. Those symptoms can vary from person to person. It's important to understand what causes a citrus fruit allergy and how to treat it.

What Is A Food Allergy?

A food allergy is your body's hyperactive state when it come into contact with something its allergic to. For most people a citrus allergy is not serious but it can be life-threatening in some cases. For those that are allergic to citrus, the signs and symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to hours after eating a food containing a citrus allergen. Some people can have an allergic reaction or intolerance to citrus which causes unwanted symptoms.

Citrus Allergy

The main culprit is not the citrus. It's the protein, Profilins, that is found in many citrus fruits. Your immune system doesn’t recognize the Profilin as food and tries to fight it by releasing histamines and other chemicals to fight the attacker. 

Citrus Allergy Symptoms 

They can include but are not limited to:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anaphylactic shock  
  • Congestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Itchy skin (eczema)
  • Mouth and/or abdominal tingling
  • Nausea 
  • Rash
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Skin redness (flushing)
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, face and/or throat 
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing

In severe cases the victim can get anaphylaxis shock which is very dangerous. It's a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. 

Citrus Allergy

Many times those that are susceptible to Anaphylaxis shock will carry epinephrine, sometimes called an Epi Pen. This gives the person a shot of adrenaline and offers enough time to get him to the emergency room. Anaphylaxis symptoms can include:

Difficulty in breathing. The victim may have a swollen throat or airway making it difficult to breathe.

  • Facial flush
  • Lightheaded
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe drop in blood pressure
  • Stomach pain

What Is Citrus Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance?

Intolerance is a bit more difficult to nail down because symptoms may not be immediate. It may take several hours before you have any kind of reaction which makes it harder to pinpoint the real issue. Some citrus allergy or intolerance symptoms may be attributed to other foods. These symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Stomach pain and cramps

If you exhibit allergies to citrus you may want to also consider a possible citric acid allergy. There are so many products and foods on the market that may contain citric acid that it's nearly impossible to list all of them. The best thing to do is check the ingredient label for citrus or citric acid and make the right decision for your unique situation.

Some Foods That Are Offenders Or Pose A Risk

  • Amanatsu
  • Calamondin
  • Citron
  • Clementine
  • Grapefruit
  • Greek citron
  • Hyuganatsu
  • Kumquat
  • Lemon (Meyer, Ponderosa, Shangjuan/Ichang, Mediterranean/Sweet, Flat/Hirami)   
  • Lime (Desert, Finger, Kaffir, Key, Persian, Tahiti, Bearss, Round/Australian) 
  • Oranges (Bergamot, Bitter, Blood, Seville, Sour, Bigarade, Mandarin(e), Marmalade, New Summer)
  • Satsuma
  • Tangelo
  • Tangelo
  • Tangerine

Foods That Contain Citric Acid to Varying Degrees

  • All citrus fruits including berries
  • Breads that use fermentation in the process such as sourdough 
  • Canned fruit
  • Cheese 
  • Commercially produced salad dressing
  • Fruit flavored treats 
  • Fruit salad (canned)
  • Ice cream 
  • Instant/powder mashed potato
  • Jams and jellies 
  • Kidney beans
  • Mayonnaise - Can be made with vinegar alone, but is most often made with lemon juice.
  • Passion fruit (canned)
  • Potato Chips (canned)
  • Soft drinks 
  • Stock cubes and broths .
  • Tomato-based sauces.
  • Vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes 
  • Wine 

If you think you have a citrus allergy, an intolerance or other symptoms of a food allergy, it's best to talk to your doctor or allergist. Another avenue is a chiropractor who practices Applied Kinesiology or muscle testing.

These kinds of food allergy symptoms can be potentially life threatening due to Anaphylactic shock so it's best to get professional help. The doctor, allergist, or chiropractor can perform a series of tests to determine the root cause of the allergy and treat it accordingly.

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