Citrus fruits can cause allergic reactions, but many people are unaware of the signs. Symptoms of citrus allergies are easy to recognize. Since they are limited to the relatively few members of the citrus family, the allergies can often be easily diagnosed, and the triggering fruits can be avoided to prevent future reactions.
While most citrus allergy symptoms are related to problems occurring in the digestive tract, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, non-digestive symptoms such as itching, wheezing, hives and a decrease in blood pressure are also common. Citrus allergy symptoms are similar to other food allergy symptoms, so it is often necessary to keep a food diary to pinpoint the source of the allergy.
As with most types of food allergies, the severity of citrus allergy symptoms can range from mild to serious. Mild reactions, such as an upset stomach, may not require medical attention, but serious reactions often necessitate immediate medical care. Severe allergic reactions to citrus fruits can lead to anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by a constriction of the airways leading to the lungs. Someone suffering form anaphylactic shock experiences an increasing difficulty in breathing and can die, if not treated immediately.
Symptoms of allergies to citrus fruits would appear when someone has eaten one or more of the following members of the citrus fruit family: clementine, grapefruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, minneola, orange, prunello, tangerine, tangelo, UGLI fruit and satsuma. There is a misconception that it is the citric acid in citrus fruits that causes allergies, but it is proteins and substances specific to citrus fruit, and not the acid.
The most common of the citrus fruits, the orange, is also the biggest culprit of citrus fruit allergies. For some allergy sufferers, merely touching a citrus peel can cause some of the citrus allergy symptoms.
If allergies to citrus fruits are suspected, a doctor should be consulted. With good record-keeping of foods ingested and medical tests, a proper diagnosis can be given. For the most accurate and quickest diagnosis, allergy sufferers should record the details of their reactions, such as the type of reaction, the duration of reaction symptoms, and the amount of suspected allergy-causing food consumed. Treatment for citrus allergy symptoms primarily involves avoiding citrus fruits, but medication is available for treating symptoms. Those with allergies to citrus fruits may find that they are only allergic to certain citrus fruits, while others may find they are allergic to all citrus fruits.