Even though grapes are not included in the list of the top food allergens, some children might develop grape allergy. Nevertheless, a child might not have this allergy but simply a reaction to other substances present on the grapes. Once you suspect that a child experiences a reaction to grapes, a doctor should be consulted for assessment and allergy testing in order to determine the exact cause. In addition, cross-reactions to other foods can also occur.
Causes of grape allergy
The proteins present in food are responsible for triggering allergic reactions. Even though you might not consider grapes as a food that contains proteins, a cup of grapes contains about 1.09 g of protein which is enough to initiate an allergic reaction among highly sensitive individuals.
The proteins that are believed to trigger grape allergy include three specific proteins – grape lipid transfer protein, thaumatin-like protein and endochitinase 4A. The main protein allergen in grapes is the grape lipid transfer protein (LTP). Take note that the immune system overly reacts to the harmless substances specifically in foods by producing antibodies that releases substances that fight off the allergen.
Signs and symptoms of grape allergy
Always bear in mind that grape allergy can trigger symptoms that are similar to other allergens. The typical symptoms include rash, hives, cough, runny or stuffed nose, wheezing and asthma.
The oral allergy symptoms include swelling of the mouth, lips and throat as well as irritation of the eyes or gums. The anaphylactic symptoms include hives, low blood pressure as well as swelling of the throat, facial swelling, wheezing or difficulty breathing.
What are other possible causes?
A possible allergic reaction to grapes might actually be an allergy to yeast or mold that grows on the grapes or to the pesticides utilized on the grapes. The lipid transfer proteins present in both peaches and grapes can also cause cross-reactions between the fruits.
In some cases, a cross-reaction between grapes and cherries can also occur. Take note that oral allergy syndrome can trigger a reaction between fruits and other substances. A cross-reaction between grapes and latex can also occur as well.
Considerations to bear in mind
Remember that it is possible for an individual to end up with an allergic reaction to a single type of grape and not to others. It is likely that an allergy to one type of grape can indicate an allergy to all types of grapes, raisins and wine products. Once a child experiences a reaction to one type of grape, do not provide him/her with other grape products until he/she has been tested for allergies.
Once a child is suspected with an allergy to grapes, it is best to undergo testing in order to determine the exact cause. If a diagnosis is confirmed, grapes and other associated fruits must be avoided.