Almost every recipe usually starts with, “chop up some onions”. Onions are so popular in every single cuisine that there’s just no escaping them. But can people actually be allergic to something as common as an onion? Onion allergies are rare, but they do occur. Around 3% of the world’s population are allergic to onions, either through external contact or internal ingestion. A higher percentage of people have an onion intolerance, which means they can eat onions, but only in limited quantities. Onion allergies have very clear symptoms which manifest themselves in varying levels of severity. Here are some of the common symptoms of an onion allergy which might help you tell if you suffer from it.
Onion allergies are of two kinds, external and internal. People who have an external allergy to onions develop symptoms by just smelling it. People with an internal allergy experience adverse reactions after consuming it. While there are many symptoms of an onion allergy, you might not necessarily have all of them. A few of these symptoms that manifest every time you come into contact with onions could mean you have an allergy. Onion allergies also don’t take the same time to become obvious in each individual. Some people might experience an immediate reaction to it, while some might experience symptoms only 24 hours after eating onions.
People who are very allergic to onions often break out in hives and skin rashes after coming into contact with them. Their skin might become dry, itchy and there could even be swelling in some areas. People with onion allergies also have severe digestive issues when they eat onions. Onions can give them bloating, cramps, diarrhea and stomach pains. People who have a very severe onion allergy can even have breathing difficulties, asthmatic attacks, disorientation and might develop painful blisters in their mouth.
Onion Allergy Triggers
When you have an onion allergy, it can be difficult to avoid it completely because onions are present in so many food items. Soups and broths are usually made from stock that was prepared with onions, so even if it doesn’t say onions on the menu, you could still have an allergic reaction to it. Food seasoning and flavorings are also made with onion powder. If it’s a pre-packaged seasoning, it’s best to avoid it if you don’t know exactly what ingredients have gone into it. Flavored cheeses also usually have traces of onions in it which can trigger an allergic reaction. When in doubt, always read the ingredients label to check if there are onions. Onion allergies aren’t always limited to onions, they also include onion-like vegetables and herbs. When you have an onion allergy, you might also be allergic to leeks, scallions, chives, garlic and shallots.
How To Treat An Onion Allergy
If you suspect you have an onion allergy, it’s best to get yourself tested to make sure. Your doctor will usually recommend a blood test, skin prick test or an elimination diet to determine whether you’re actually allergic to onions. If you are, there are a few ways to avoid and treat an onion allergy. The first step is to completely avoid onion in all its forms. Be vigilant about reading food labels to make sure no onions were used in the manufacturing process. This is especially important when you’re eating processed, packaged or frozen foods. But if despite your best efforts, you still accidentally eat onions, there are a few ways to treat it.
Antihistamines are very effective against most allergies, including allergies to onions. They reduce itchiness, swelling and bring down hives. If onions give you severe acidity, eat a handful of almonds, which can neutralize your stomach acids and give you some relief. Eating a banana can also eliminate excess gas buildup, reduce acidity and improve your digestion. If you develop a rash or dry, flaky skin, you can apply cold aloe vera gel over the area. This will gently moisturize your skin and help it heal.