Papaya is a fruit that thrives in Hawaii, Mexico and other tropical or subtropical countries all over the globe. The most popular variety available in grocery stores came from Hawaii. Papaya is characterized for its pear-shape and can grow up to 20 inches in length. Both the skin and fruit of papaya contain an enzyme similar to latex that can trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals. This is also the similar compound present in avocadoes and bananas. During an allergic reaction, the body perceives these substances as a threat and histamine is released as a response, thus triggering the symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms of papaya allergy are similar to other types of allergies.
The skin of the papaya can cause itchiness or rashes on the hands. If the individual handles papaya and then touches his/her face, it can lead to itchy and watery eyes. If the fruit is eaten, it can cause itching and burning around the lips and mouth as well as the tongue and throat. Other common skin reactions to the fruit include hives, eczema and swelling in other parts of the body.
Gastrointestinal signs and symptoms of papaya allergy
The gastrointestinal reactions to the food allergen are usually abrupt and the symptoms are strikingly similar to food poisoning. Abdominal cramping is quite common along with gas, bloating and nausea. In some cases, there is also diarrhea and vomiting as the body attempts to eliminate the irritant.
In any type of allergy, they all have a respiratory component as the body produces histamine as a response to the allergen. During a food allergy, these symptoms can occur through wheezing, coughing and chest congestion. Individuals will also experience shortness of breath and difficulty breathing as well as nasal congestion and sneezing.
Severe signs and symptoms of papaya allergy
A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis involves the constriction of the airways and the individual eventually stops breathing. The tongue, lips and the throat can swell, thus preventing air from entering the lungs or the bronchi in the lungs are inflamed. In some cases, both can occur. If the individual is not given emergency care, he/she can go into shock and die.
It is also likely for an individual suffering a mild allergic reaction for the first time to progress into a severe reaction if there is further exposure. Due to this, if you suspect that an individual is experiencing an allergic reaction to papaya, you have to consult a doctor right away to determine the exact allergen. Take note that the symptoms of an allergic reaction can become more severe as the day passes, depending on the amount that was ingested and the sensitivity of the individual.
Determining the exact allergen is possible by consulting a doctor. A skin prick test will confirm if the individual has papaya allergy. A positive result is indicated by the appearance of the rash on the skin where the test was performed.