What is Corn Allergy?
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, and even anaphylaxis, among others. 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.
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.
Treatment of Corn Allergy
The most basic treatment of this allergy is to simply avoid any foods that could contain corn, corn pollen or corn extract, which is a very long list of foods, ranging from common salt, gluten, and beer to various sauces, marinades, and dips. Corn and high-fructose corn syrup are found in far more foods than most people realize, so treatment is closely linked to preventative behavior.
There are also more formal treatments for corn allergy, such as the use of homeopathic medicine and common antihistamines. If you feel the symptoms of your corn allergy beginning, you can quickly soothe them with allergy medication, such as Claritin or Fenistil.
Prevention of Corn Allergy
Similar to the treatment approach, you can prevent this allergy by avoiding any potential triggers. While there are some long-term allergy treatments related to immunomodulation, this is a time-intensive and expensive process. The best way to prevent this allergy is to pay close attention to food labels and customize your diet to stay away from corn. In many cases, corn allergy is something that will fade or lessen over time, often disappearing as children get older.