An allergy to watermelon is much like any other food allergy and will exhibit many of the same symptoms. As with any allergy, a sensitivity to watermelon is caused by the body’s inability to recognize certain proteins or the unnecessary activation of antibodies within the body. This causes allergic reactions, even though the offending food isn’t inherently dangerous. Many people who suffer from watermelon allergy are also sensitive to ragweed pollen, but fortunately, an allergy to watermelon is quite rare. Even so, it is best to fully understand a potential allergic reaction; not all watermelon allergies appear at birth; some may not manifest for years, even if you regularly ate watermelon in the past with no side effects.
Causes of Watermelon Allergy
Research has shown that there are three major allergens found in watermelon that can trigger an allergic reaction – malate dehydrogenase, triose phosphate isomerase, and profilin. These compounds aren’t present in a wide variety of foods, and it can be difficult to determine which causes the reaction in a given individual. As mentioned above, watermelon can also contain traces of allergenic pollens, like ragweed, which can also cause the allergic reactions in individuals.
Watermelon Allergy Symptoms
If you are suffering from an allergic reaction to watermelon, you may experience nausea, vomiting, itching, stomach pain, diarrhea and swelling of the tongue or throat. While many of these are standard reactions to any food allergy, some people do experience anaphylaxis if they are strongly sensitive to watermelon. If you experience any semblance of these symptoms, it is best to stop eating watermelon and get formally tested for food allergens. Again, even if this allergy appears later in life, it should still be taken seriously, as you could have a severe intolerance.
The most effective way to diagnose any food allergy is a skin prick test or a cross-reactivity test. The former is a reliable and controlled means of determining whether your body responds negatively to the presence of watermelon. The latter will help to determine whether your sensitivity to watermelon is, in fact, tied to an allergy to another substance, such as pollen.