Mango, the delicious summer fruit, is native to southern Asia and can be eaten raw, as pulp, or juiced. Despite its large-scale consumption, allergic reactions or related complaints are hard to come by. One of the most noted allergic reactions include immediate or delayed hypersensitivity. According to a United States National Institutes of Health research conducted by Richa Sareen and Ashok Shah, mango allergy was more observed in individuals who resided in regions that had no mango cultivation.
In such cases, consumption of processed and canned mango pulp does not help either. Although the pulp/nectar goes through an enzymatic degradation process, apparently its allergic properties stay, and can still cause mango allergies resulting in hypersensitivity. If not identified in time and treated properly, this allergy can take a life-threatening form. Given in the article below are the causes and symptoms of mango allergy, and what treatment options you can seek if you are suffering from it.
The allergic reaction to mango is usually a type of contact dermatitis, which occurs when the allergic substance comes in contact with the skin. Urushiol, the substance causing mango allergy, is typically present in the skin of the mango. Being a self-melanizing (turns black when it comes in contact with air) substance, urushiol can be easily traced on the fruit. It is the black sticky deposit, usually found at the point where the fruit is severed from the tree, or near punctures in the fruit's skin.
Apart from urushiol, cardol, limonene, and beta-Pinene, present in the skin, bark, pulp and pericarp of the fruit, also cause reactions. Coming in contact with these parts of the fruit or the tree can cause allergic reactions. These substances are deposited in the epidermal layer of the skin and affect the CD-4 cells. This results in red patches and rashes on the skin within a time period of 4-6 hours.
Oral consumption of the food causes oral allergy syndrome. This is typically characterized by a tingling or burning sensation on the tongue or the lips and surrounding areas. This reaction occurs when mango pollen reacts with dust and mites. Similar allergies also arise when pollen of mangoes cross-react with pollen of other fruits such as papaya, fig, grape, etc.
A common pattern observed in individuals belonging to non-mango-cultivating regions was that such allergic reactions were generally triggered off during their first exposure to mango. The chances of similar reactions repeating during following encounters with the fruit were reduced by about 20%.
- Wheezing Dyspnea - shortness of breath and suffocation, followed by or accompanied by cough.
- Erythema - red skin.
- Urticaria - formation of skin rashes.
- Angioedema - swelling below the skin surface and/or in the area around eyes and lips.
- Hoarseness - abnormal, harsh, or strained voice.
- Hypotension - low blood pressure.
- Periorbital Edema - puffy eyes - swelling of the tissues around the eyes.
- Rhinorrhea - congestion or blocking of nasal cavities with abnormally large amounts of mucus fluid.
- Vesicular Lesions - skin blisters (particularly on the hands or around the mouth).
There is no permanent treatment to an allergy. The best way of treating the allergy is to immediately clean the area that has come in contact with the sap. This effectively drains out all the urushiol from the affected area. Allergic reactions can be cross-reactive, which means that the allergy develops over a period of time after exposure to other substances that have the same allergic substance (urushiol in this case).
A person who is allergic to mangoes should avoid touching the fruit or at least the skin of the fruit. Though the development of a rash is basically a histamine response of the body, the use of antihistamines has not shown great effects to counter the reaction. Over-the-counter cortisone creams can be a form of symptomatic treatment. In case of severe reactions, topical as well as oral steroids may be used for a quick remedy. However, before choosing any treatment, it is necessary to consult a doctor. In case of severe rash, it is essential to consult an allergist and get proper treatment at the earliest.
A recommended home remedy that works is the use of honey. The pollen allergens in honey act as anti-inflammatory agents, thereby reducing the allergic reaction. A herb called nettle is also effective, as it acts as a natural antihistamine, inhibiting the production of histamine in the body.
Belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, Mango, or Mangifera, is loved by millions and has a vast market around the world. Most countries lying in the tropical belt - like India, China, Thailand, Brazil, Pakistan, Philippines, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands cultivate mangoes. The annual global mango production stands at more than 25 million tons, and just India accounts for 53-55% of it. The fruit is widely loved across the Indian subcontinent, but its allergic reactions are rarely given a thought since they are odd and rare.
If you suffer from either of the above discussed mango allergies, not consuming the fruit and staying away from it as much as possible is the only way out.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a medical expert.