Bananas are very popular fruit and are eaten by majority of people around the world. It is also one of the first fruits that you give to your baby for extra nutrients and energy. It is a great source of protein and is helpful for child growth. However in some cases children have allergy from banana and products made from it. This can be because of various reasons, mostly it occurs when a family member has allergy from banana and it gets transferred to their offspring. There are also some misunderstandings about banana allergy being connected to latex allergy. Today we will try to understand about banana allergy in children and what should be done to treat it.
Banana Allergy in Children
OnlyMyHealth talked to Dr. Sneha Pandit, Clinical Paediatrician from Ramnanda Swami Hospital, Thrissur. She said that banana is often used as one of the first food given to the baby because it can be crushed and is easier for the baby to chew. People can have mixed opinion about banana as a nourishing fruit. However it is not true that banana is connected to latex allergy but it does have some relation regarding it.
The main cause of Banana allergy according to her is hereditary transfer. She said that most cases of banana allergy in children had one of their parents having similar allergies. Banana allergy is not harmful if precautions are taken as the child grows. It can only create problems when you disregard Banana allergy as a normal symptom and do not take relevant steps to determine cause of symptoms of this allergy.
Banana Allergy Vs Latex Allergy
Banana comes from a variety of plant family similar to that of rubber trees. Rubber trees produce latex and are well known for having multiple people having latex allergy. In some cases a child may have allergy from both of them as well. Banana allergy however is caused only by banana fruit whereas latex fruit allergy involves nuts, fruits and other products that have latex protein. Hence it is important to determine and distinguish you child is suffering from exactly which type of allergy.
Symptoms of Banana Allergy
Fortunately, symptoms of banana allergy are visible early in the phase and thus it becomes easier to treat the baby in the initial stages. Depending on the severity of allergy, children may have different symptoms. It also depends on how the allergy has occurred, from consuming the banana food or by coming in physical contact with it.
Here are some symptoms that are evident in banana allergy-
- Skin hives
- Itching or swelling on lips, tongue and throat
- Running nose or constant sneezes
- Shortness of breath in babies
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting after eating that banana food
- Swelling in eyes or redness in eyes
- Risk Factors from Cross-Reactive Foods
To get this straight if a child is suffering from Banana allergy, he can have nuts and other fruits that have similar protein structure. But if a child had latex fruit allergy, he may be allergic from all sorts of nuts and fruits having similar protein structure that includes bananas as well.
If you notice similar symptoms in your child when he eats avocados, kiwi or chestnut, this means he has cross-reactivity and is allergic to foods having similar base. It can cause them latex-fruit allergy if the allergen food comes in contact with them often. Children who have pollen allergies also are at a risk of developing latex-fruit allergy and may get banana allergy with it. However this condition occurs rarely in children.
Complications of Banana Allergy
If precautions are not taken within time, then it may cause severe allergic reaction in children, and they may have these problems-
- Hives Skin Infection
- Flushed skin
- Throat swelling and pain in throat
- Drop in blood pressure
- Abdominal pain along with nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
Anaphylaxis, a condition of sudden drop in blood pressure that may cause life-threatening complication for babies can also occur because of severe banana allergy and latex-banana allergy.
Treatment Options for Banana Allergies
Treatment of Banana allergy is mostly dependent on avoiding your child from coming in contact with allergic food and it’s by products. It is not possible to treat an allergy which is present from the beginning in a child.
Medicines- Over the counter medications are given for the children so that allergic reaction can be controlled if the child comes in contact with banana by any chance. Banana allergy may cause itchiness and running eyes or nose as soon as your child comes in contact with it. Antihistamine tablet is given to improve this condition and prevent hives from occurring.
Avoiding Allergic Food Items-
- Avoid anything that is made up of banana or has banana in it.
- Check ingredients of any product before applying or giving it to your baby as lot of baby products such as lip balms have banana extract in it.
- Avoid kiwis, apples, papaya, potatoes, tomatoes and any other fruits or vegetables that can come under cross-reactive foods.
- If your child has latex-banana syndrome, avoid any contact with products based on latex like balloons, gloves, equipments, toys, etc.
- Avoid toys and pacifiers as they can also contain latex in them.
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