The indications of lemon allergy can manifest in just minutes after direct exposure to the fruit or delayed for up to 2 hours. It is important to note that any fruit can start an allergic reaction, including lemons.
An allergy to the fruit can be life-threatening if not treated. A doctor should be consulted if any allergy symptoms manifest so that a diagnosis can be given.
What are the usual symptoms of lemon allergy?
Even though lemon allergy is considered rare, the usual symptoms that manifest after directly handling the fruit include the following:
- Bumps on the skin
- Skin dryness
If lemons are ingested, the reactions that manifest includes:
- Mouth itchiness
- Throat tightness
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
There are also reported cases in which some develop brief sensitivity to the sun after contact with the fruit.
How does this allergy develop?
Similar with other types of food allergies, a reaction starts once the immune system wrongly identifies the proteins in lemons, specifically profilins as a threat. As a response, the immune system floods the bloodstream with histamine and antibodies to drive away the protein which initiates the indications of an allergic reaction.
Aside from the lemon itself, the dye and wax that is oftentimes applied to the lemon peel is also capable of triggering a reaction.
A doctor should be consulted if an individual develops a reaction after consumption or directly handling lemons. The doctor will perform a skin prick or patch test to identify the causative allergen.
- The individual should avoid contact with lemons and any product that might contain the fruit such as skin products or beverages.
- Always use gloves for protection if handling lemons is required.
- Dab on an over-the-counter emollient cream to soothe the skin irritation and redness.
- The doctor might prescribe an oral or topical steroid to manage the symptoms.
Risk for anaphylaxis
If a reaction is severe, it might progress to anaphylaxis. This reaction can cause tightening of the airways which makes it difficult to breath. Additionally, other symptoms manifest such as:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty swallowing
If any of these are present, you should bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.
In some cases, an individual diagnosed with the allergy might have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand. A shot should be given and bring the individual to the nearest healthcare facility for further treatment.