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Are you allergic to mangoes?

Allergies to mangoes can manifest in two forms immediate hypersensitivity and delayed hypersensitivity.

I have never known a person who said no to mangoes. This fruit is really magical and does something with your taste and senses that we can't get enough of it. There is a reason why mangoes are called the king of fruits. It's soft pulp and sweet and succulent taste makes us want more. I am sure that all of us has tasted mangoes and had experimented with this fruit in more than one way juice, milkshake, ice-creams, souffl , pastries other than just devouring its tender and luscious pulp. But imagine if you had to say no to mango and not because you are concerned about the sugar in the fruit or watching your weight but you are allergic to it. Thankfully mango being a tropical fruit is not known to cause any life-threatening allergies but it still has allergens which could possibly be a threat to some. Though rare but allergies due to eating mangoes is a possibility.

If you have never had an allergy after eating mangoes to your heart's content then probably you are just lucky. But there are people who develop sensitivity or hypersensitivity after eating mangoes. It won't happen to you now if your body has become suited to the allergens present in the fruit but it is always good to keep a watchful eye especially if you are trying a new variant of mango from a different geographical region or giving it to your baby for the first time. The thing with allergies is that they manifest in different ways and often it takes us a while to get to the root cause of the symptoms like rashes, swelling, red eyes etc.

Allergies and symptoms

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Allergies to mangoes can manifest in two forms immediate hypersensitivity and delayed hypersensitivity.

Immediate hypersensitivity

In immediate hypersensitivity, the reactions start soon after one consumes mangoes and is usually attributed to indigestion of mangoes. The symptoms are wheezing with difficulty in breathing, redness of the skin or erythema, rashes with itching or urticaria, swelling under the skin of the face, throat or abdomen or angioedema. In addition to this, some might also develop respiratory troubles and itching of eyes and mouth, swelling of eyelids, profuse sweating and chest tightness. The symptoms usually overlap in people suffering from immediate hypersensitivity due to mango consumption. For people who are allergic to mangoes, these symptoms might develop within 15 or 30 minutes after consuming mangoes. If the symptoms turn to be acute which is stays beyond the initial 15 or 30 minutes medical intervention becomes necessary. In some, the symptoms might settle on their own.

Delayed hypersensitivity

Delayed hypersensitivity can manifest as contact dermatitis, periorbital oedema and eczematous rash and blister formation around lips. Delayed hypersensitivity reaction to mango can occur either by direct contact with the mango or even the tree itself. Ingestion due to mangoes too can be a cause of the same. The symptoms of delayed hypersensitivity can last from 4 hours to 7 days. Most of the times they need medical intervention to settle.

A delayed hypersensitivity is also observed in people due to cross-reactivity which means the mango allergens react with other foods like carrots, pistachio nut, tomato, papaya and banana who also have certain allergens in them. In general, our immune system is well equipped to suppress certain allergen attacks. But at times the allergens get the better of our immune system. A delayed hypersensitivity to mangoes is also observed in people with latex allergy.

What can you do?

If you have never been allergic to mangoes you have nothing to worry. But if you are trying mangoes for the first time for your kids or having a different variant watch out for the above-mentioned symptoms. A good news is allergic reactions to mango have also been observed in individuals residing in geographical areas where cultivation of the fruit does not occur. Nearly half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India alone and is the country's national fruit. This is the reason Indians seldom suffer from allergies after consuming mangoes. However, the human body and its mechanisms are pretty tricky you might develop an allergy to certain things or your body might react to certain allergens if there has been any alteration in body chemicals invoking a trigger. So, better be watchful.

Image source: Shutterstock

Reference:

Sareen, R., & Shah, A. (2011). Hypersensitivity manifestations to the fruit mango. Asia Pacific Allergy, 1(1), 43 49. http://doi.org/10.5415/apallergy.2011.1.1.43

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