Watermelon is a globally consumed cucurbit fruit that can cause allergic reactions. However, watermelon’s main allergens are unknown. Watermelon allergies are rare, however, if a person reacts to watermelon, there may be additional foods to avoid. If the person with allergies does not eat watermelon often, they may not know what is causing their symptoms. There may be an allergy to a different food or an unrelated disease. The symptoms of a watermelon allergy are similar to those of other food allergies. The doctor can perform tests to identify the problem food. Watermelon allergy usually develops in childhood, but some people develop in adulthood.
A person with a watermelon allergy may experience hives or stomach ache, and their symptoms are common with other food allergies. Symptoms usually appear within a few minutes after contact. The most common watermelon allergy symptoms are as follows:
- Persistent cough
- An itchy tongue or throat
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
A severe allergic reaction can trigger life-threatening anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction. It can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as anaphylactic shock. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 200,000 hospital visits are made every year in the United States due to food allergies. In addition, people often have allergic reactions to drugs and insect bites. The AAFA reports that more than 50 million people in the United States each year experience allergic reactions, and allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country. During anaphylaxis, in its reaction to the allergen, the body produces large amounts of histamine, a signaling molecule that can trigger an inflammatory response. This response leads to symptoms such as dilation of blood vessels, a sudden drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and shock. In anaphylaxis, the airways usually narrow and make breathing difficult. In addition, blood vessels can leak, causing edema, a type of swelling caused by fluid buildup. The reaction may occur immediately after contact with the allergen or within a few hours after contact, and very rarely occurs days later.
Anyone who has a severe reaction to watermelon should seek immediate medical attention. They may require an injection such as EpiPen from an Epinephrine auto injector before help arrives. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the throat, face or tongue
- Abdominal pain
- Shock (from low blood pressure)
- Vertigo (feeling dizzy)
Anyone experiencing a watermelon allergy for the first time should speak to a doctor. The doctor can confirm the diagnosis and make recommendations on the treatment and prevention of future reactions.
The most common way to diagnose a watermelon allergy is with a skin prick test. The test involves soaking in the skin and placing a small sample of watermelon on the area. If a person has an allergy, they are likely to develop a raised lump on the skin after a few minutes. The results of the blood test can also show whether an allergy is present. However, it may take a few days or weeks to get results. However, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, some individuals may test positive for an allergy but experience no symptoms from food.
Watermelon Allergic Reaction Treatment
Epinephrine pen can treat a severe allergic reaction. A person can usually treat a mild allergic reaction with over-the-counter medications. When he has a severe allergy to watermelon, he should carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of accidental exposure. Anyone who has ever witnessed someone experiencing anaphylaxis should:
• Emergency medical services should be sought.
• The use of an auto-epinephrine injector should be helped.
• The person should be helped to remain calm
• Restricting clothing, especially around the throat, should be removed
• The person should lie flat with their feet up.
• If the person starts vomiting, their head should be turned without raising their head.
• CPR should be administered if needed
However, a person suffering from anaphylaxis should not be given food or drink. If a person has a severe allergic reaction, they should see a doctor immediately to prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector.
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor urgently, especially if the person’s reactions are severe. The doctor will take a medical history and investigate symptoms. They can diagnose allergies, which will be particularly useful for people who are unsure of the cause of their symptoms. If necessary, the doctor can refer the person to an allergist. He conducts tests to detect various triggers and may prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector as needed.
Watermelon Allergies in Children and Infants
Young children are more likely to develop a watermelon allergy than adults. The doctor needs to diagnose the allergy in the child, treatments are similar for children and adults. Although rare, it is possible for babies to be allergic to watermelon. The pediatrician’s advice should be followed and new foods should be introduced gradually. Because this can make it easier to identify allergies.
Foods to Avoid When You Have Watermelon Allergy
A person with a watermelon allergy should avoid other types as well. Anyone with allergies should avoid certain foods and vegetables, and these include:
• Honeydew melon
In addition, the person may want to avoid foods that cause similar reactions in the body, and these are:
Watermelon allergies are rare, but they can trigger reactions that range from mild to severe. Allergies are most common in children, and most people are able to control or prevent allergic reactions by taking over-the-counter medications and avoiding triggers. The doctor can help prepare the severely allergic person for accidental exposure.