What Is Tomato Allergy?
Tomato allergy is a type of food allergy that occurs when the immune system overreacts to the proteins present in tomatoes. Tomato allergy is often caused by profilin proteins. These proteins are present in all eukaryotic cells and are identified as allergens in pollen, latex, and plant foods.
In some cases, tomato allergy is associated with oral allergy syndrome also known as pollen food syndrome. Individuals allergic to grass pollen are more likely to be allergic to tomatoes. Allergens from tomatoes also show cross-reactivity to birch pollen, bell peppers, cherries, pineapples, bananas, nuts, rubber latex, apples, celery, yellow mustard, Japanese cedar pollen, peach, and members of the Rosaceae family. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of tomato allergy to prevent a severe allergic reaction.
Tomato Allergy Symptoms
- Redness of skin
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
In rare cases:
- Severe swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
In severe cases, tomato allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. So, if you suspect that you have a tomato allergy or have experienced any of these symptoms after eating tomatoes, you should consult an allergy specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Tomato Allergy Diagnosis
There are many ways to diagnose a tomato allergy. Some common ways to diagnose tomato allergy are skin prick testing and blood testing. During a skin prick test, a small amount of tomato extract is placed on the skin, and a tiny prick on the skin is done to allow the extract to enter the skin. If you are allergic to tomatoes, the area around the prick will become raised, red, and itchy.
A blood test measures the level of specific IgE antibodies in your blood, which are produced by your immune system in response to allergens. Elevated levels of IgE antibodies in tomatoes may indicate an allergy.
You must get a proper diagnosis if you suspect that you have a tomato allergy to avoid severe allergic reactions. Once diagnosed, our NYC allergists will work with you to develop an allergy action plan, which may include avoiding tomatoes and carrying an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.
Tomato Allergy Treatment
The best treatment for tomato allergy is avoidance. Thankfully, most cases of tomato allergies are mild and can be treated with antihistamines, so it’s helpful to keep them with you. Over-the-counter medications may be strong enough, but you can also get prescribed medications to treat your symptoms. Prescribed medications may be necessary for asthma and some cases of skin reactions. If you suffer from allergic asthma, your allergist will recommend an inhaled corticosteroid.
For more serious allergic reactions to pineapple, ask your allergist about an epinephrine auto-injector. You should carry your epinephrine to treat symptoms related to anaphylaxis. Train your friends and family on how to administer the medication in case you can’t do it yourself. Be sure to book an appointment with NY Allergy & Sinus Centers for a personalized treatment plan for tomato allergy.
Tomato Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Tomato Allergy?
Tomato allergy is caused by the immune system’s overreaction to the profilin proteins in tomatoes.
Can Tomato Allergy Be Hereditary?
Yes, tomato allergy can be hereditary, but not always. If you have a family history of food allergies, you may be at a higher risk of developing a tomato allergy and other food allergies.
Are There Other Foods That People With Tomato Allergy Should Avoid?
People with tomato allergy may also be allergic to other foods in the same family, such as potatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers. You may need to avoid these foods if you have a tomato allergy.
Can Tomato Allergy Be Cured?
Currently, there is no cure for food allergies, including tomato allergy. However, some people may outgrow their allergies over time.
Can I Eat Cooked Tomatoes If I Have A Tomato Allergy?
Some people with tomato allergy can eat cooked tomatoes because the heat can change the structure of the proteins, making them less allergenic. However, it is best to talk to your allergist before trying cooked tomatoes if you have a tomato allergy.
Can Tomato Allergy Cause Anaphylaxis?
Yes, in rare cases, tomato allergy can cause anaphylaxis. If you experience these symptoms after eating tomatoes, seek emergency medical attention immediately.