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Root allergy: cross-allergic reaction due to birch allergy

  1. A carrot allergy is a form of food allergy. In a food allergy, the immune system reacts (exaggerated) to a specific protein that occurs in a food. Because almost all foods contain proteins, an allergy can in principle arise from all foods. Allergic reactions are often seen to the proteins of: cow's milk, chicken egg, wheat, apple, soy, nuts, fish and crustaceans and shellfish. A root allergy is often a cross allergy caused by a cross reaction between birch pollen allergens and root allergens. A person is first allergic to birch pollen (primary allergy), and then allergic to root (secondary allergy). This is because the birch pollen proteins have great similarities with the proteins of carrot, so that the body is unable to distinguish and also considers carrot an allergen.

The root

  1. The carrot (Daucus carota) is a nutritious vegetable, rich in fiber and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a substance that is converted by the body into vitamin A. The foliage (leaf) of this crop is also very healthy and can be used in salads or as a stir-fry vegetable, for example.

Different carrots (carrots)

  1. Carrots are long and thin carrots that are sold in bunches with the leaves still attached. Carrot without leaves and crops is called wax carrot and the winter carrot is a larger and thick carrot.

Ways to use carrot

  1. The carrot is not only very healthy but also very versatile. Its mild and sweet taste makes it a suitable vegetable for babies and young children. In addition to high amounts of fiber and beta-carotene, the root also contains vitamin C and important minerals such as calcium and magnesium. There are several ways to use the carrot:

A root allergy and birch allergy

  1. Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy the health benefits of this root vegetable. There are people who experience complaints after eating carrot. These complaints are often caused by the cross allergy.

How does an allergy develop?

  1. In case of an allergy, the body incorrectly produces IgE antibodies against a natural protein. These antibodies attach themselves to mast cells, which are white blood cells that occur in body tissue. These mast cells contain, among other things, histamine. This substance is released by the mast cells when the body comes into contact with an allergen and the IgE antibodies are stimulated and mast cells are activated.

What is a cross allergy?

  1. The carrot protein is very similar to the birch pollen protein. With a cross allergy, the body is unable to distinguish these proteins from each other, so that the immune system also sees carrot as an allergen. A cross reaction of birch pollen allergens with root often occurs on contact with raw root. By heating the root, the protein structure changes, so that there is less resemblance to the birch pollen allergens. The complaints that arise after a cross reaction can, among other things, cause the oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome

  1. The complaints of oral allergy syndrome often arise in teenagers and (young) adults and consist of:

Anaphylactic reaction

  1. In some very rare cases, a life-threatening situation may arise after eating carrot and an anaphylactic reaction may occur. This response can include:

Diagnosis of an allergy to carrot

  1. A root allergy can be demonstrated by several tests by a general practitioner, a dermatologist or an allergist:

Treating a carrot allergy

  1. When a root allergy has been diagnosed, the treatment consists of:

Elimination of (raw) carrot

  1. Avoid skin contact with the carrot and avoid eating (raw) carrots. Carrot can be replaced by, among other things, sweet potato and pumpkin. This vegetable also has a slightly sweet taste and contains, in addition to fiber, the necessary healthy nutrients.

Use medication

  1. For mild complaints of oral allergy syndrome it is usually not necessary to use medication. When complaints are more serious, the following medication can be used.

  2. For mild complaints of oral allergy syndrome it is usually not necessary to use medication.

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