Understanding Mango Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Wyndly Care Team
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Is mango a common allergy?

Mango allergy is not as common as other food allergies, but it does occur. Those allergic to mango might experience symptoms such as skin rash, hives, vomiting, or diarrhea. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis may occur. It's often linked to a latex allergy.

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What Causes a Mango Allergy?

Mango allergy is an immune response triggered by the body's hypersensitivity to mangoes. It is caused by proteins found in the mango skin and pulp, which the immune system mistakenly identifies as harmful substances, leading to allergy symptoms.

Pathophysiology and Clinical Manifestations

The immune system's reaction to mango allergens involves the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies bind to allergens and trigger the release of histamine from mast cells, leading to inflammation and allergic symptoms. Clinical manifestations may include skin reactions, respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

Allergenic Profile and Cross-Reactivity

Mangoes belong to the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes poison ivy and poison oak. People allergic to these plants might also be allergic to mangoes due to cross-reactivity. Additionally, individuals with latex allergy may react to mangoes because of a phenomenon known as latex-fruit syndrome.

Effect of Processing Methods on Allergenicity

Processing methods like cooking or canning can alter mango allergens, reducing their allergenicity. However, this doesn't apply to all individuals with mango allergy. Some may still react to processed mangoes, while others may tolerate them better than fresh mangoes.

What Are Symptoms of a Mango Allergy?

Symptoms of a mango allergy can be mild, moderate, or severe, affecting various parts of the body. They usually appear shortly after eating mango or coming in contact with the fruit, but in some cases, they may develop hours later.

Symptoms in Adults

In adults, mango allergy symptoms can include skin reactions like hives, rash, or itchiness. Other symptoms may include respiratory issues such as wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Digestive symptoms may involve nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. More severe reactions can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms in Babies

In babies, mango allergy symptoms can be similar to those in adults but may also include colic, irritability, or a change in stool patterns. Skin symptoms like hives or eczema are common in babies with mango allergy. Respiratory symptoms may involve wheezing or difficulty breathing, and digestive symptoms may include vomiting or diarrhea. If your baby shows any signs of a severe allergic reaction, like difficulty breathing or swelling of the lips, tongue, or face, seek immediate medical help.

How Is a Mango Allergy Diagnosed?

A mango allergy is diagnosed through a series of tests conducted by an allergist. These tests are designed to identify specific antibodies produced by the immune system in response to mango allergens.

Firstly, a detailed medical history is taken, where the allergist asks about your symptoms, their duration and frequency, and any possible exposure to mango. The allergist will be interested in any family history of allergies, as this increases the likelihood of an individual developing allergies.

The allergist may then perform a skin prick test. In this test, a small amount of mango extract is applied on your skin using a tiny needle. If a raised bump or wheal, surrounded by itchy red skin appears, it indicates a possible mango allergy.

In some cases, a blood test may be conducted. This test measures the level of specific antibodies, known as IgE antibodies, in the blood. High levels of these antibodies are indicative of an allergic reaction. However, skin tests are generally preferred as they provide faster results.

It's important to note that these tests alone cannot confirm a mango allergy. The allergist will consider the test results alongside your symptoms and medical history to make a diagnosis.

How Is a Mango Allergy Treated?

Mango allergy treatment primarily involves avoiding mangoes and managing symptoms when they occur. If you've been diagnosed with a mango allergy, it's crucial to read food labels carefully and avoid any product containing mango.

Symptom Management

For mild reactions, over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines may help reduce symptoms. If you experience severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, immediate medical attention is required. In such cases, your doctor may prescribe an emergency epinephrine autoinjector.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment option that can help desensitize your immune system to mango allergens. SLIT involves placing a tablet containing a small amount of the allergen under your tongue daily. Over time, this can help your immune system become tolerant of the allergen and reduce your allergic reactions. However, this treatment must be overseen by an allergist due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.

Remember, the best way to manage a mango allergy is to avoid mangoes and seek expert medical advice if you experience any allergic reactions. For other plant-based allergies like palm tree or mulberry tree allergies, similar avoidance strategies and treatment options apply.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the stages of an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction has two stages- the sensitization stage and the reaction stage. During sensitization, the immune system encounters an allergen, recognizes it as harmful, and produces IgE antibodies. In the reaction stage, when re-exposed to the allergen, these antibodies trigger symptoms like sneezing, itching, or hives.

What are the types of allergic reactions?

Allergic reactions can be classified into four types: Type I (immediate hypersensitivity), Type II (cytotoxic), Type III (immune complex-mediated), and Type IV (delayed hypersensitivity). These reactions range from mild issues like a rash or hives, to severe problems such as anaphylaxis or organ damage.

What foods should be avoided with a mango allergy?

If you have a mango allergy, avoid mangoes in all forms, including fresh, dried, or in juices and desserts. Also, caution is needed with other foods containing mango flavoring or extract. Cross-reactivity may occur with latex, pistachios, carrots, celery, and certain tropical fruits like papaya and kiwi.

Why do my lips burn when I eat mangoes?

Burning lips after eating mangoes is typically a result of a condition known as "oral allergy syndrome." This occurs when your immune system recognizes similarities between proteins in mangoes and pollens, triggering an allergic reaction that can cause your lips to feel a burning sensation.

What are the hypersensitivity manifestations to mango?

Hypersensitivity to mango can manifest as contact dermatitis, characterized by itching, redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin. Oral allergy syndrome, causing itching and inflammation in the mouth and throat, and anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, can also occur in rare cases.

What fruits should be avoided if allergic to mango?

If you're allergic to mangoes, you may also react to fruits like pineapples, bananas, and avocados. This is due to a condition called cross-reactivity, where the proteins in these fruits are similar to those in mangoes, potentially triggering an allergic response.

What are the side effects of mangoes?

While mangoes are generally safe to eat, some people may experience allergic reactions. Side effects could include contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, or swelling near the mouth. Ingesting mangoes can cause anaphylaxis in severe cases. Unripe mangoes may also cause indigestion. Always consult your doctor for personalized advice.

What can I take for a mango allergy?

For a mango allergy, antihistamines can help with symptoms such as itching, hives, or swelling. Severe reactions may require corticosteroids or epinephrine. Always consult a healthcare provider and avoid mangoes if you are allergic. An allergist can provide a personalized treatment plan.

How long does a mango allergy last?

A mango allergy's duration varies per individual, but typically, symptoms subside within a few hours to a few days once exposure ceases. However, if you ingest mango and have a severe allergy, symptoms may persist longer and require immediate medical attention.

What medication is recommended for fruit allergies?

For fruit allergies, antihistamines are typically recommended to manage mild symptoms. However, for severe reactions, an epinephrine auto-injector may be prescribed. Always consult with a healthcare provider or allergist to determine the most suitable medication based on your specific symptoms and severity.

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