People of all age groups love to eat chocolates. Some of us are even addicted towards it. However, there are people who cannot eat chocolates because they tend to get allergies. It can happen to both children as well as adults. Those children whose parents have chocolate allergy are at a greater risk of getting the same. In other words, it could be hereditary. Many research studies have found that people who have weak immunity are more likely to develop this allergy.
The main ingredient is cocoa which is obtained from the cocoa beans. These beans are processed by fermentation, roasting and grinding in order to prepare the chocolate that we eat. Cocoa can be responsible for allergy but it is not the only cause. There are other ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions like, milk, soy, gluten, varieties of nuts and chemicals which are used to add a specific color or flavor to the chocolate.
The symptoms have lots of similarities with that of other kind of food allergies. Common symptoms that are found in people after eating chocolates are as follows:
Difficulty in Breathing: It mainly happens when more than one ingredients of the chocolate is causing allergic reactions in the body. Apart from shortness of breath, people in this condition complain of dizziness, tightness in the chest, heart palpitation, stomach cramps, etc. Nausea, vomiting and wheezing sound while breathing can also be observed. If the allergic reaction affect more than one system of the body, then it can even trigger anaphylactic shock that can be fatal. In such condition, one should not even touch a piece of chocolate.
Skin Rash: Those who are highly allergic can get skin rash as soon as they take one bite of chocolate. Initially, this kind of skin eruptions occur in and around the face and neck which may later spread to other parts of the body like arms, legs and stomach.
Headache: A sharp headache can be observed in some people. The caffeine substance present in chocolate is mostly responsible for this symptom. However, it is to be noted that it requires further investigation in order to find out if the chocolate is actually responsible for causing the headache.
Confusion: When we feel depressed, we love eating chocolates as they help to lift our spirits. However, those who have chocolate allergy, it can have adverse effects on their emotions. It can make them restless and irritable. This happens because theobromine present in cocoa act as a stimulant for the nervous system which in turn makes the heart beat faster.
Heartburn: This is a minor symptom and does not cause any serious harm to your health. Usually, it is not caused by the cocoa of the chocolate. Rather, some other ingredients may trigger this kind of allergic reaction. Most people who get heartburn after having chocolates do not have to stop eating them completely.
If any of the symptoms that are given in the previous section are observed after eating chocolate, patients should consult their doctors. They can identify the component that triggers the allergic reaction with the help of skin tests, blood tests, etc. Then suitable medicines are prescribed to the patients according to the severity of their symptoms. Antihistamines are used for treating symptoms like skin eruptions, itchiness and digestive disorders. Corticosteroids and bronchodilators are given to those who feel mild shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing as these medicines help to open up the respiratory tract. Those who have signs of anaphylaxis such as breathing difficulty, palpitation and tightness in chest should be rushed to the emergency room where an injection of epinephrine is administered for the treatment of severe allergic reaction. Once the symptoms subside, the instructions provided by the doctors should be strictly followed to prevent further occurrence of chocolate allergy.
You may not have to stop eating chocolates forever if you have allergy. Your doctor may suggest that you to eat only those chocolates that do not contain certain ingredients which can cause allergic reactions. In that case, you just have to read the label of the chocolate before buying it.