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Signs & Symptoms of a Citrus Allergy

By Joshua McCarron ; Updated August 14, 2017

Food allergies can lead to dangerous, life-threatening situations in extreme cases. Typically, a food allergy will produce symptoms that cause discomfort, but are not inherently dangerous. Some of the more common food allergies include dairy, nuts, fish and gluten. Citrus allergies are not as common, and the symptoms are usually milder than many other food allergies. An allergy to citrus fruits can still be disruptive and unfortunate for anyone who enjoys oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits.

Canker Sores

The acids in citrus can cause lesions in your mouth if you are allergic. A canker sore is usually painful if it rubs against your teeth, or comes in contact with anything acidic such as citrus or ketchup.


Heartburn is a food allergy symptom that may occur if you ingest the acids in citrus fruits. Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation that often travels up your esophagus to your mouth. Over-the-counter antacids may offer you some relief.


Hives are raised welts that form on your skin, and are typically itchy, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Your body releases histamine into your bloodstream when you come into contact with an allergen, which causes the hives.

Itchy or Watery Eyes

Itching and swelling around the eyes is a common symptom of food allergies, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Call your doctor immediately if the swelling becomes severe, and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes if you have touched a citrus fruit or juice.


When you consume a food you are allergic to, you may have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or pain after the food has been digested, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Diarrhea is characterized by watery stools, and often accompanied by intestinal discomfort.


Dermatitis is an inflammation that affects your skin, and can be caused by an allergy to citrus fruits. Dermatitis often resembles a burn, and could develop from ingesting a citrus fruit, or coming into contact with the oils in the peel on your skin.

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