Corn Allergy: Symptoms & Diagnosis

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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As with any other allergy, a corn allergy is a reaction by the body to the proteins found in corn; basically, the body becomes overly sensitized to corn or corn byproducts, resulting in a range of allergic symptoms upon repeated exposure. Since corn is found in so many different foods and food products, this particular allergy can be quite serious – and may be difficult to avoid experiencing symptoms.

When the body encounters corn byproducts, it releases immunoglobulin-E, which stimulates the release of histamines, causing a number of common symptoms that most people will recognize. Many children seem to suffer from corn allergy, although it can appear at any time of life, or maybe an existing allergy from your earliest exposure to this common food item.

Corn Allergy Symptoms

The major symptoms of this allergy include both immediate and delayed symptoms, including:

  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis

Basic gastrointestinal and respiratory problems are similar to other food allergies, but when it comes to anaphylaxis, it can be accompanied by unconsciousness, rapidly fluctuating pulse, difficult breathing, and bodily shock. If you experience any of these more serious reactions, seek medical attention immediately.

Close up of a container filled with corn oil and a small sack of corn surrounded with corn cobs

Diagnosis of Corn Allergy

Diagnosing a corn allergy is particularly difficult because corn is such a prevalent part of so many foods; it is also difficult to separate an allergy to corn from allergies to other sorts of grass or grain pollens. One of the most common diagnostic methods for a corn allergy is an elimination diet, where you cut back on many suspected allergenic foods, and then slowly reintroduce the foods to identify the offending food.

A skin prick test or a blood test may also determine whether you possess this allergy. A blood test will reveal the elevated presence of immunoglobulin-E, while a skin test may show topical inflammation or irritation at the site of exposure to corn. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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