Banana food allergy in babies
Banana Allergy: Symptoms and More
Bananas are a popular fruit. They make a healthy snack, are great for breakfast, and they’re delicious in smoothies. Most people think of bananas as one of the first solid foods you can feed a baby, too. However, some people may want to avoid bananas altogether.
A banana allergy is often connected to a latex allergy. This is because some of the proteins in the rubber trees that produce latex are known to cause allergies, and they are similar to the proteins found in some nuts and fruits, including bananas. This syndrome is known as latex-food syndrome or latex-fruit allergy.
Read on to learn more about banana allergies and what to do if you or your child has one.
It’s extremely rare for a baby to have a strong allergic reaction to bananas. Be cautious if you have food allergies in your family, though. While bananas aren’t at the top of the list, food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children.
Children who have nut allergies may react to eating or touching raw bananas. Young children often outgrow food allergies, so discuss how to check for tolerance with your pediatrician.
If you’ve acquired a food allergy later in life, however, it’s usually here to stay.
Relation to latex
A banana allergy can appear as a consequence of a latex allergy. Few people are born allergic to latex, but you can develop it later in life due to exposure. This risk is increased certain people, including:
- babies with spina bifida or other birth defects that require multiple surgeries using medical equipment containing latex
- people who work in fields where latex gloves or other latex objects are used on a regular basis
- people who work in the latex industry
The most frequent signs of latex allergy include itchiness, redness, and local swelling. People can also react to the powder used in latex gloves even without direct contact.
Banana trees and rubber trees have similar allergy-causing proteins, so people who are allergic to latex may also react to bananas. They may also react to other foods that contain similar allergy-causing components. This is called cross-reactivity.
If you notice signs of a latex allergy, remove bananas from your fruit basket. The same goes for avocadoes, kiwis, and chestnuts. These foods can trigger reactions in people with a latex-fruit allergy.
People who have pollen allergies can often react to certain foods, too. Usually this kind of reaction develops in older children, teens, and adults. It’s much less frequent in babies and toddlers.
The first signs of allergy can appear very soon after eating or tasting bananas, depending on the severity of your allergy. Some people also have reactions from skin contact with bananas, including the banana peel. Here’s what to watch out for:
- itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- swollen, itchy, or red eyes
- runny nose or sneezing
- shortness of breath
- abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
In some severe cases, people who have a latex-banana allergy can experience anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis are serious and require immediate attention. They include:
- hives and itching
- flushed skin
- swollen tongue
- closing of the airways, which causes wheezing or difficulty breathing
- swollen throat and hoarse voice
- a drop in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock)
- abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- dizziness or fainting
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Read more: Timeline of an anaphylactic reaction »
If you have a mild reaction, an over-the-counter antihistamine may be enough to counteract immediate allergy symptoms such as itchiness, runny eyes and nose, and hives. Often these symptoms can disappear without any treatment.
Some people may develop anaphylaxis after eating bananas. If your allergy is this severe, your doctor will prescribe an epinephrine pen (EpiPen) to carry with you at all times.
If you suspect that your child reacts to bananas, see your doctor right away to a get a referral to an allergist.
If you have a banana allergy, follow these tips to stay safe and healthy.
- Avoid anything with bananas, including flavored products such as food, medication, or lip balm.
- Always check the ingredients of smoothies and raw healthy desserts because bananas are typically used in these dishes.
- Avoid other cross-reactive foods, including avocadoes, chestnuts, kiwi, apples, carrots, celery, papaya, potatoes, tomatoes, and melons.
- If you’re sensitive to bananas and latex, avoid contact with latex-based objects, including balloons, fitness equipment, gloves, condoms, and dental dams.
- Avoid certain toys and pacifiers that can also contain latex.
Cooking bananas may deactivate the allergy-causing protein, which may make cooked bananas safe to eat. However, you should discuss if it is safe to eat bananas with your doctor. If your allergy is severe, it’s best to steer clear of bananas entirely.
Safe alternatives include:
- pumpkin and squashes, either baked or used in desserts and smoothies
- cooked sweet potatoes and yams
If you have multiple food sensitivities, your doctor will refer you to an allergy specialist. This doctor will run a comprehensive test to identify your allergies.
People with a banana-latex allergy should avoid bananas and forgo any latex-containing objects. Read labels or ask about an ingredients list before you eat anything, including flavored medication. Avoid even touching bananas, including the peel, and also skip on the dessert if you’re not sure about your reaction to cooked banana.
People with a banana allergy often have other sensitivities. See your doctor for a comprehensive allergic profile so you know what to avoid, and then stock up on plenty of safe, yummy alternatives.
Is Banana Allergy Common in Babies?
The first food that most parents introduce as the first food to their babies is the humble fruit, banana. Babies love its sweet taste and, moreover, it is an extremely nutritious fruit packed with vitamins and nutrients. However, not all babies can eat bananas as they may have an allergic reaction to them. Let’s find out more about this allergy and how to deal with it.
What is a Banana Allergy?
A banana allergy is an allergy to certain proteins present in bananas. Your baby will have a banana allergy if his immune system is hypersensitive towards a specific protein found in it. If he is allergic to bananas then this means that once he consumes it, his body will attack the food to protect the digestive system by sending out white blood cells. This can provoke an external allergic reaction in your baby. The symptoms of this allergy include a rash, diarrhoea, vomiting, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis. Most parents ask if a banana allergy is common in babies. The answer to this is that it depends on a child’s immune system. However, food allergies are quite common among young children.
Causes of Banana Allergy in Infants
If you see your baby vomiting or having a red rash on his face soon after eating a banana, it may be because of a banana allergy. This might happen due to the below causes:
1. Protein Intolerance
There is a protein found in bananas, which is called ‘chitinase’. Your baby’s immune system may be intolerant to this protein and, hence, become hypersensitive, causing an allergic reaction to bananas.
2. Vasoactive Amines
Bananas contain a substance known as ‘vasoactive amines’. Vasoactive amines are similar to histamines and occur naturally. If your baby’s metabolic system cannot oxidise enzymes, then vasoactive amines may lead to an allergy to bananas in babies.
Symptoms of Banana Allergy in Babies
When you feed your baby mashed banana for the first time, watch out for the following symptoms of banana allergy in him. These symptoms can happen immediately or within a few hours of consuming the fruit.
1. Gastrointestinal Symptoms
A banana allergy causes a baby to vomit due to various gastrointestinal issues. The other symptoms are as follows:
- Loose Bowels
- Stomach ache
2. Respiratory Symptoms
Your baby may have a few problems while breathing if he has a banana allergy, such as –
- Stuffed nose
- A cough
- A runny nose
- Tightness of chest
The most common indication of a banana allergy are the symptoms on the skin, such as
- Itching sensation
- Tongue inflammation
- Swelling on the face
- Red bumps
- Inflammation of the mouth
A banana allergy may also lead to diaper rashes and eczema, so stay alert parents.
How to Deal with Banana Allergy in Babies
As parents, no doubt you will be worried if your baby has a food allergy. But there is no need to panic. Here is how you can deal with it.
1. Follow the 3-Day Wait Rule
Once you introduce banana (or any solid food for that matter) to your baby, wait for at least 3 days to see whether he is showing any signs of an allergy. This will let you know what foods are safe for your baby and the foods that should be avoided. You can also inform your doctor about the foods you are planning to introduce your baby to beforehand so that he can diagnose any allergic reaction more efficiently and with lesser tests.
2. Other Tips to Deal With a Banana Allergy
If your baby is allergic to bananas, here are a few tips that you can follow to combat that allergy.
- If your baby has only a slight allergic reaction to bananas, your doctor will suggest that you feed your baby smaller pieces of banana every time you feed this fruit.
- Instead of introducing bananas, you can start with foods like steamed carrots, as carrots make safe baby food.
- Cooked bananas are much safer than raw bananas, so you can give your baby small pieces of cooked bananas.
- If your baby has a severe allergy towards bananas, make sure that whatever you buy in the grocery has zero traces of banana in it, as it can cause cardiovascular complications or extreme face swelling.
When to Call a Doctor
If you notice any mild symptoms like hives or a rash on your baby’s face, stop feeding him bananas and get in touch with your doctor. If you notice any symptoms of a serious reaction like severe diarrhoea or vomiting, trouble breathing, severe wheezing or swelling of face or lips, call an ambulance immediately and your doctor following that. A baby’s allergic reaction to bananas should not be taken lightly.
Sometimes, a breastfed baby may also develop an allergic reaction to bananas if his mother is allergic to the same. So make sure to keep your own food allergies in mind so that the doctor can better diagnose your baby.
Also Read: Causes of Egg Allergy in Babies & Its Treatment
Everything you need to know about banana allergies
Bananas are a popular fruit that is available in every corner of the world today. It is added to smoothies, snacks, cocktails, cereals, it is great for breakfasts and snacks. Bananas are considered to be one of the hypoallergenic foods, and it is often introduced as a complementary food to children up to a year old, as one of the first fruits. However, banana allergies are not as common.
Banana allergy in children
It is rare for a child to develop an allergic reaction to bananas. Be considerate to your child if you have a food allergy in the family. Although bananas are not among the 8 most common food allergens, it must be remembered that food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children.
Children with nut allergy may react to eating or touching raw bananas. Young children often outgrow food allergies. You should discuss all food allergy issues with your allergist and know how to distinguish food allergies from food intolerances.
How latex and banana allergies are related
Banana allergies can often be linked to latex allergies. This syndrome is known as latex food syndrome or latex fruit. This is due to the fact that the proteins of the rubber tree, from which latex is produced, have a similar structure to the proteins of a banana and other fruits and vegetables.
Few people are born with a latex allergy, but there are groups of people who are more likely to develop it. They are:
- children with spina bifida or other birth defects that require multiple operations using medical equipment containing latex
- healthcare workers and people who work in the beauty industry or where latex gloves or other latex items are used on a regular basis
- people who work in the latex industry
- people allergic to grass pollen
The most common signs of latex allergy include itching, redness and local swelling. People may also react to inhaling the powder used in latex gloves, even without direct contact.
Risk factors and cross-allergy to bananas
Banana and rubber trees have similar allergenic proteins, so people with latex allergies may also react to bananas. They may also react to other foods that contain similar allergic proteins. This is called cross-allergy.
If you notice signs of a latex allergy, remove the bananas from the fruit basket. The same goes for avocados, kiwis and chestnuts. These foods can cause reactions in people who are allergic to bananas.
People who are allergic to pollen can often also react to certain foods, usually raw vegetables or fruits. Typically, this reaction develops in older children, adolescents and adults. And much less often in children and toddlers.
What are the symptoms of a banana allergy?
Allergy symptoms may appear a few minutes after eating the fruit. Some people also have reactions from skin contact with bananas, including the peel. Symptoms of this allergy include:
- itching or swelling of the lips, tongue and throat
- swelling, itching or redness of the eyes
- runny nose or sneezing
- shortness of breath and wheezing
- abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea
In some serious cases, people who are allergic to bananas may experience anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis are severe and require emergency treatment. They include:
- urticaria and itching
- swelling of the tongue
- respiratory failure and dyspnoea
- throat swelling and hoarse voice
- drop in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock)
- abdominal pain
- dizziness or fainting
How to treat a banana allergy?
In most cases, it is recommended to avoid eating these fruits or to use antihistamines in case of accidental contact or consumption.
Some people may develop anaphylaxis after eating bananas. In this case, it is recommended to always have an epinephrine pen (EpiPen) with you.
What foods should you avoid if you or your child is allergic to bananas?
- Avoid anything banana-related, including flavored foods such as food, medicine, or lip balm.
- Always check the ingredients of smoothies and raw healthy desserts because bananas are commonly used in these dishes.
- Avoid other cross-reactive foods, including avocados, chestnuts, kiwis, apples, carrots, celery, papaya, potatoes, tomatoes, and melons.
- If you are sensitive to bananas and latex, avoid contact with latex: based items, including balloons, fitness equipment, gloves, condoms.
- Avoid certain toys and pacifiers that may also contain latex.
Cooking bananas can deactivate the allergy-causing protein, which can make the cooked fruit safe to eat. However, you should discuss whether it is safe to eat bananas with your doctor. If you have a severe allergy, it is better not to eat bananas at all.
If you suspect a banana allergy, consult an allergist for a detailed allergy profile to know what to avoid, then stock up on a variety of safe, tasty alternatives.
food allergen. Symptoms and treatment of banana allergy
- Good for allergy sufferers
- FOOD - ALLERGENS
Thinking about a healthy and nutritious snack, many people will opt for a banana. Someone will enjoy it for dessert, and someone, forgetting about an allergy to a banana, will make baby food out of it.
Bananas are practically universal fruits. We get them in natural packaging, and the high content of natural substances with slow absorption will help you satisfy your hunger with such a snack for a relatively long time. In addition, this product contains a considerable amount of useful substances. So, potassium, an excellent source of which there is a banana, helps lower blood pressure and serves as a good protector against heart disease and strokes. Pectin - fiber, which is also abundant in this fruit, has a good effect on the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, and normalizes bowel function. The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, supporting healthy gut microflora by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids for healthy digestion.
Although banana is not one of the top 8 allergens, in most parts of the world about 1% of the population is allergic to this fruit.
Banana allergy can also occur alone or (and it happens much more often) and in combination with sensitivity to other foods, representing one of two types of oral allergy syndrome. Its symptoms affect the mouth or throat.
First type - pollen-fruit syndrome
It occurs in some hay fever patients who are allergic to certain types of tree pollen (birch, alder or hazel). In these cases, the proteins in the pollen are so similar in structure to those found in certain plant foods that it leads to a cross-reaction between, in particular, the fruit and the pollen.
The second syndrome is the already mentioned crossover between fruits and latex. About 45% of patients who are allergic to bananas may have latex sensitivity. This is due to the natural content of chitinase in Hevea (rubber tree). It is its juice that is used to produce latex, from which hygienic gloves, balloons, condoms, etc. are then made. Therefore, latex fruit syndrome occurs in people who are allergic to natural rubber. In both cases of oral allergy syndrome, severe symptoms are unlikely in patients because the proteins that cause allergies are unstable and are destroyed when food enters the stomach. Therefore, as a rule, symptoms are limited to only the lips, mouth, tongue, throat, or esophagus.
Banana Allergy Prevention
No matter how severe your reaction to a banana is, the best way to get rid of your banana allergy is to avoid the fruit. Pay attention to the composition of fruit salads, fruit drinks, and other dishes where a banana can be an unexpected ingredient.
Check labels for appropriate flavors not only in food, but also in household chemicals.
If you have already eaten a banana and feel a slight allergic reaction, rinse your mouth well to remove fruit residue and wash your hands. Sometimes heat treatment helps to reduce the manifestation of allergies, or even avoid them. Under the influence of high temperatures, the protein that causes the reaction is destroyed.
If you do eat a banana and the allergic reaction is too severe and uncomfortable, you may need an antihistamine. Although, sometimes the symptoms can go away on their own within two hours. In any case, it is better to consult a doctor to find the right treatment.
Be aware that not all allergy medications are approved for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and there are other restrictions.
If the manifestation of allergy does not decrease, the person begins to suffocate, and the rash begins to spread throughout the body - it is better to call an ambulance, because we are talking about the development of an anaphylactic reaction. She can be life threatening.
Patients at increased risk of anaphylaxis should consult their physician about using an epinephrine dispenser that relieves the symptoms of anaphylaxis. The dispenser can be used even before the arrival of the ambulance, with the least suspicion of a serious reaction.
Back to menu for various types of allergies
People with allergies to substances that contain banana-like proteins are at increased risk. Banana allergy is believed to be caused by its chitinase protein. This protein is also present in kiwifruit and avocados. And you are more likely  to react to a banana if you are allergic to other fruits, vegetables, or latex, whose proteins are also structurally similar to banana proteins. People who react to this dessert also experience oral reactions to peaches and olives. And also - on such raw vegetables as bell peppers, tomatoes and carrots.
Doctors can confidently speak about the similarity of proteins in different foods and their cross-reactivity with other substances based on the data of molecular tests for allergies. They allow not only to detect sensitivity to the allergen, but also provide information about the protein that provokes it. Such tests can also help the specialist figure out the likelihood of a severe, anaphylactic, reaction to the allergen.
Eczema, atopic dermatitis, asthma, pollen allergy, and heredity can sometimes contribute to banana allergy.