Garlic is popular with cuisines across the world for its distinct aroma and strong flavor. Its various health benefits and medicinal properties1 make it a favorite ingredient in numerous recipes. However, some people are allergic to garlic and can develop strong reactions from consuming or coming in contact with garlic and garlic-based products. In extreme cases, they may develop anaphylaxis, which can be fatal in the absence of immediate treatment.2 Generally, people who regularly chop fresh garlic may develop an allergy. But, it may also affect other people who consume undercooked garlic at restaurants and eateries. Garlic allergy can be quite powerful and even wearing gloves while chopping or handling garlic may not be an effective method to prevent the allergy. In the most extreme case, garlic’s allergic reaction may cause anaphylaxis, which happens very rarely.
What Causes The Allergy?
The immune system of some people releases Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies into their bloodstream to counter the effect of allicin, and in the process, the mastocyte cells also begin to generate histamines. An increase in the histamine levels causes the fragile tissues to swell. Most of the allergens present in garlic are heat-labile, which means that if garlic is cooked or well-heated, then most people allergic to garlic can consume it without any
Symptoms Of Garlic Allergy
1. Digestive Symptoms
Ingesting garlic or garlic-based foods may result in some discomfort in the digestive system in some people. Symptoms often surface within minutes of consuming garlic or sometimes may take several hours. Some common symptoms related to the digestive system include vomiting, flatulence, diarrhea and irregular bowel movements.6 Sometimes, it may even cause abdominal pain and cramps.
2. Skin Symptoms
The skin, being sensitive to most allergic reactions, is one of the first to show signs of an allergy. The magnitude of the allergy depends on the skin’s sensitivity and the amount of the allergen that was ingested or the person was exposed to. When
3. Respiratory Symptoms
Garlic allergy can cause some people to develop respiratory conditions like asthma9 and rhinitis. Inhaling garlic dust can trigger respiratory problems in some people, especially those who harvest the spice, work
Since most dishes use garlic, it may be hard to completely avoid garlic. Most fast foods at restaurants and takeaways use garlic and almost all the cuisines world-over use garlic in one form or the other. The best way to prevent garlic intake is to eat only home-cooked food. However, if you must eat out, then inquire and ensure that garlic is not an ingredient in the dish. While buying packaged and processed food, read the information on the contents of the product and make sure that garlic is not used.
Treatment Methods To Cure Garlic Allergy
The treatment for garlic allergy is different from the treatment required for garlic intolerance. Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.11 In cases where the symptoms are mild or
Adrenaline injections are administered to those with a risk of anaphylaxis, which occurs in extremely rare cases. The medication must be carried at all times, so that it may be used in case of a severe reaction.12
Word Of Advice: Occasionally, allergies can worsen and cause the health to deteriorate. If the symptoms of the allergy do not reduce, it is best to consult your physician. Do not take any medicines without consulting your physician. Delay in consultation can worsen the condition with life-threatening consequences.
|↑1, ↑3||Bayan, Leyla, Peir Hossain Koulivand, and Ali Gorji. “Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects.” Avicenna J Phytomed 4, no. 1 (2014): 1-14.|
|↑2||Ma, Shikun, and Jia Yin. “Anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of raw garlic.”Foodborne pathogens and disease 9, no. 8 (2012): 773-775.|
|↑4||Treudler, R., A. Reuter, A. M. Engin, and J. C. Simon. “A case of anaphylaxis after garlic ingestion: is alliinase the only culprit allergen?.” J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol (2015): 374-375.|
|↑5||Ma, Shikun, and Jia Yin. “Anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of raw garlic.” Foodborne pathogens and disease 9, no. 8 (2012): 773-775.|
|↑6||Tattelman, Ellen. “Health effects of garlic.” Am Fam Physician 72, no. 1 (2005): 103-106.|
|↑7||Pazyar, Nader, and Amir Feily. “Garlic in dermatology.” Dermatology reports 3, no. 1 (2011).|
|↑8||Jappe, Uta, Bernd Bonnekoh, Björn M. Hausen, and Harald Gollnick. “Garlic-related dermatoses: case report and review of the literature.” American Journal of Contact Dermatitis 10, no. 1 (1999): 37-39.|
|↑9||Seuri, M., A. Taivanen, P. Ruoppi, and H. Tukiainen. “Three cases of occupational asthma and rhinitis caused by garlic.” Clinical & Experimental Allergy 23, no. 12 (1993): 1011-1014.|
|↑10||Falleroni, Angelo E., C. Raymond Zeiss, and Doris Levitz. “Occupational asthma secondary to inhalation of garlic dust.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 68, no. 2 (1981): 156-160.|
|↑11||Allergies. NHS Choices. 2016|
|↑12||Onion and Garlic Allergy. Anaphylaxis Campaign. 2015.|