Symptoms, causes and foods to avoid

Potato is a commonly used ingredient around the world. A potato allergy is rare, but allergies have been reported.

This article will discuss potato allergy symptoms, causes, risk factors, tests, diagnosis, and tips for living with potato allergy.

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Potato Allergy Symptoms

People with a potato allergy can experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Itchy eyes
  • To sneeze
  • Tingling and/or itching in the mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Feel dizzy
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • A rash or hives
  • Swallowing problems
  • facial swelling
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Shortness of breath

Although rare, a severe potato allergy can cause an anaphylactic reaction, a severe and potentially life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can come on suddenly and get worse quickly.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include those of a milder allergic reaction, but also progress to:

  • Tongue swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulties speaking
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Collapse

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but certain risk factors can make a person more likely to develop a food allergy.

People who have a parent or sibling with an allergic condition such as a food allergy, eczema (an inflammatory skin condition) or asthma (a chronic condition of inflamed and narrowed airways) are at increased risk. to develop a food allergy. All members of a family may not be allergic to the same food.

People who had eczema in early childhood are more likely to develop a food allergy than people without childhood eczema.

There has been an increase in the number of people living with food allergies over the past few decades. The exact reason for this is unknown, but scientists speculate that it could be due to a change in children’s diets over the past few decades.

The increase is also possible due to children being raised in low-germ environments and not being exposed to germs early.

Diagnosis and tests

In seeking a diagnosis, you can start by reporting your symptoms to a primary care provider, who will refer you to a specialist. The testing and diagnosis of a food allergy is usually done by an allergist, a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic conditions.

To reach a food allergy diagnosis, an allergist may order a variety of allergy tests.

Skin prick test

A skin test is done in a health care provider’s office. During this test, a healthcare professional places a small amount of allergen on your back or arm. The skin is then pricked, allowing some of the allergen to penetrate under the skin.

The skin is then observed. A raised red bump that develops where the skin was pricked is considered a positive result.

Blood test

In some cases, a blood test may be ordered to check for allergies. An IgE (immunoglobulin E) blood test measures the amount of IgE antibodies in the blood. Unlike skin tests, where results are available in 15 to 30 minutes, results from a blood test can take weeks. Blood tests are less sensitive than skin tests.

Living with a potato allergy

There is no cure or treatment for allergies, and living with an allergy to a food like potato requires management.

Foods to Avoid

People with a potato allergy should strictly avoid potato or any product containing potato.

In people with severe allergies, even eating a small amount of potato, such as from a cooktop that previously contained potato, can be enough to cause anaphylaxis.

It is important for people with food allergies to read labels carefully when buying food, as potato can be an unexpected ingredient.

When eating out, it’s also a good idea to ask about meal ingredients.

Alternatives to potatoes

Potatoes feature in a number of meals and are a popular side dish. But there are alternatives for people who can’t eat potatoes, including:

  • Instead of hash browns, try grating a butternut squash.
  • Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower.
  • Brown rice, quinoa or couscous can be a tasty side dish instead of potato.

Summary

A potato allergy is rare but possible. People with a potato allergy may experience a variety of symptoms, including a rash, nausea, difficulty swallowing, and sneezing. A severe potato allergy can lead to anaphylaxis.

The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but having an immediate family member with an allergic condition increases the risk of food allergy. An allergist can diagnose a potato allergy through a skin test or a blood test.

Living with a potato allergy requires strictly avoiding potatoes, reading labels, and choosing potato alternatives.

A word from Verywell

If you think you may have a potato allergy, consider making an appointment with a healthcare professional. It is helpful to keep a food diary to record what you eat and any symptoms you have. With a provider, you can discuss your concerns, including what you learned from keeping a food diary, and be advised on what to do next.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Are potatoes high in histamine?

    Most fresh fruits and vegetables are low in histamine. Potatoes can be eaten as part of a low histamine diet.


  • What are the main potato allergens?

    Studies suggest that the main allergens found in potatoes come from protein. One protein that is believed to contribute to potato allergy is patatin.

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