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Mango allergy is a rare food allergy that is often overlooked. What many people do not realize is that there are two different forms of this allergy. The first is a general allergy to mangos, and the second is an allergy caused by urushiol, which is found in mango tree sap and mango rinds. Many of the signs of an allergic reaction to mangos are usually very similar to other food allergies including, swelling, hives, itchiness, trouble breathing or swallowing, and in rare, extreme cases, anaphylactic shock.
General mango allergy happens mostly when the mango is ingested. The least severe signs are watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. Milder signs of an allergic reaction to mangos include abdominal pains and diarrhea. The most common symptom is trouble swallowing or breathing due to swelling of the throat and lips. This may eventually lead to a more severe reaction, such as anaphylactic shock. If trouble with breathing occur, it is recommended to seek medical assistance immediately before symptoms worsen.
Mangos are part of the poison oak family, which is why the irritant urushiol is found in mango tree sap and mango skins. This allergic reaction to mangos happens when the skin of the mango comes in contact with a person orally or through touch; it usually affects only that specific area. One common sign is contact dermatitis, which is the inflammation of the skin or a type of eczema. Hives also often occur, especially around the face and lips, and the skin may also become flaky or form blisters that may pus. In very rare occasions, anaphylactic shock may occur along with severe swelling, lowered blood pressure, and an itchy face.
Deciding on the best method of treatment depends on the type of allergy and the severity of allergic reaction. For a general allergic reaction to mangos, an antihistamine is usually sufficient enough to allow the person to eat a mango. Hives are sometimes cleared with a cortisone cream. For more severe reactions, more intensive treatments are available. It is advisable to seek medical advice before considering or taking any allergy treatment.
Preventing an allergic reaction to mangoes is typically a fairly easy task for both types of allergic reactions. People who are allergic to eating mango may read the labels of food to ensure that it contains no mango. If a person is allergic to the urushiol in the mango peel, having someone remove the peel and the top layer of mango that touched the peel should be sufficient.