Garlic Allergy: Know Possible Symptoms And How It Affects The Human Body

Here is everything that you need to know about garlic allergies from what it is, its causes, symptoms and treatment.

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaUpdated at: Sep 30, 2021 09:00 IST
Garlic Allergy: Know Possible Symptoms And How It Affects The Human Body

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Going out to eat your favourite food and returning home with allergies can be quite painful. Not just the discomfort caused by allergies but the pain of knowing that having some savoury and delicious treats can have adverse effects on your health and can have such bad reactions is quite disheartening. Well if you are someone who has been through the same suffering and have got swelling, skin allergies and digestive symptoms then it is high time that you know that you might have garlic allergies. Yes, people can be allergic to garlic too and here is everything that you need to know about garlic allergies from what it is, its causes, symptoms and treatment with Dr. Varun Verma, Associate Director, Nephrology, Max Hospital, Pratapganj

What is Garlic Allergy?

Garlic is one of the most redolent herbs that most of us like to have in our savoury dishes to boost up its flavour. Although garlic has some strong antioxidant properties due to which it helps to fight the free radical damage. Well this aromatic and flavourful herb can be responsible for allergies as well. Garlic allergy is similar to any other food allergies that leads to immune system reaction and affects different parts of the body. As the immune system apprehends garlic as a harmful substance or the body, it tries its level best to fight it off. 


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As an immune response to these substances your body might develop some reactions that might be physical. Garlic allergy can simply be understood as an intolerance to food items containing garlic. To your surprise these allergies are not caused just by consuming food items that have garlic in them but occur due to inhaling garlic dust or with skin contact as well. 

Causes of Garlic Allergy

As we have understood what garlic allergy actually is, let us get into some further details and get to know about the causes and reasons behind this garlic allergy. The allergic reaction caused due to garlic is because of the presence of allicin protein in it. Allicin is an active compound which is abundantly present in garlic. Found in raw garlic, this compound when the garlic is chopped or sliced.

Cooking garlic on high heat helps to decamp this compound to an extent and can be gotten rid of by cooking it for long hours. Garlic allergies can be caused due to any one of these reasons-

  • Slicing or chopping garlic
  • Consuming garlic that is under-cooked

Symptoms of Garlic Allergy


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Well prevention is better than cure but once a disease or allergy has already occurred there is no going back. Although you can not go back in time and change it, you can surely avoid the complications caused by allergies by looking for its symptoms and seeking medical treatment at the earliest possible. Here are some of the symptoms of garlic allergies as told by Dr. Verma that you can look out for-

  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Runny nose
  • Fainting
  • Rashes
  • Cramps in abdominal region
  • Skin irritation and redness on skin
  • Hives
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rashes
  • Breathing difficulty

Apart from these general symptoms these are some other symptoms that a person can look out for that are associated with different organ systems such as

Digestive Symptoms

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Consuming under-cooked or raw garlic can make your immune system react and the reaction caused due to this can have some effects on your digestive tract. The symptoms that a person’s digestive system shows due to garlic allergies are-

  • Change in bowel movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Vomiting
  • Gas or bloating

Skin Symptoms

Caused when your skin comes in direct contact with the garlic cloves while peeling, slicing or chopping them. Skin symptoms can be mild and can also become severe depending upon the allergies. The most common skin related symptoms of garlic allergies are-

  • Itchy skin
  • Redness
  • Rashes 



Image Credits- Martha Steward

Garlic allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and hence it needs to be prevented and treated at time to avoid any complications. Here are some treatment options and preventive measures suggested by Dr. Verma that you can take in order to avoid the discomfort caused by the garlic allergies-

  • Avoid consuming garlic
  • Eat home cooked food
  • Read labels before buying and consuming any food item
  • Take over the counter antihistamine tablets to cure mild symptoms
  • Hydrocortisones can help to treat skin inflammation and reactions
  • Seek for your doctor’s advice if the symptoms do not go away in some time
  • A doctor may prescribe anti allergens or steroids to manage these allergies

Garlic is a flavourful herb that can surely enhance the taste and flavour of all those savoury dishes but can be dangerous for the ones allergic to it. Garlic allergies bring much more discomfort then it sounds and hence it is important to know about all its symptoms, causes, preventive measures and treatment options. If you are someone who is allergic to garlic then make sure not to go near to this herb and avoid dining out. If you still accidentally consume or come in contact with this herb then seek for your doctor’s advice.

With Inputs from Dr. Varun Verma, Associate Director, Nephrology, Max Hospital, Pratapganj