Kiwi Allergy Information | Allergy Test

Kiwi is a fruit native to China hence why some people call it Chinese gooseberry. Kiwi is full of nutrients, but it can sometimes cause allergic reactions. If you’re not allergic to kiwi, it can be a colorful addition to your fruit bowl and menu. Some people with a kiwi allergy may also experience symptoms with other related foods, pollen, or latex due to cross-reactivity.  The proteins in latex are also present in kiwi, which is why you’ll find if someone has an allergy to one of these items, they’re likely to be allergic to both.

This fruit has become famous in the western diet and is also one of the most common food allergies worldwide{1}. Sometimes kiwi allergies start as mild and then become severe, so when you experience symptoms after consuming kiwi, it is best to have a doctor check it out before it gets out of hand.

 

Types of kiwi allergy

There are two main common allergic reactions that one can get when having an allergy to kiwi. These include:

  • Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), mainly referred to as pollen allergy, is when the body assumes certain foods are pollen, resulting in mild reactions.
  • A typical food allergy can result in symptoms like IBS, rash, and breathing difficulty.

 

Kiwi allergy symptoms

Your kiwi allergy symptoms solely depend on the type of kiwi allergy.

Oral allergy symptoms

If your kiwi allergy falls under OAS, you’ll likely experience mild reactions to the fruit. The symptoms mostly center around the mouth and throat. OAS is caused by kiwi allergy cross-reactivity. They include:

  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Itching and a tingling sensation in the lips, mouth, throat, or tongue.
  • Symptoms that only last a few minutes

True kiwi allergy symptoms

Unlike OAS, kiwi allergy symptoms can prove to be more severe. These include:

  • Eczema
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain

In both kiwi latex allergy and kiwi allergy, the most severe symptom one can get is anaphylaxis{2}. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, so you will need to contact 911 as soon as possible to allow the person undergoing a kiwi allergy to get checked and treated. It’s also advisable to carry an EpiPen if you have severe reactions.

When consuming a kiwi fruit when you’re allergic, it will start with mild symptoms around the mouth. Then once you consume it again, it proceeds to become more severe, putting your life at risk. Some people’s allergic reactions start showing off immediately, while others begin to see these symptoms after a few minutes or hours.

 

Risk factors of kiwi allergy

People who already suffer from other allergies are at a higher risk of having a kiwi allergy, even though it can easily affect anyone. For example, people with allergies to foods (like bananas and avocado), latex, some nuts, vegetables, and pollen. The higher risk associated with these foods is because kiwi contains compounds similar to ones found in some fruits and vegetables.

 

Causes of kiwi allergy

When you get a kiwi allergy diagnosis, it is always common to question its causes. If you have a true kiwi allergy, there are compounds found in the fruit that your body is fighting off. After all, it detects it as “harmful” even though it’s not. Because the body assumes these are “harmful,” it sends over IgE antibodies to fight them off. IgE antibodies being released into your blood is what causes all these kiwi allergy symptoms.

According to research, the proteins in kiwi that often result in allergies include kiwellin, thaumatin-like protein, and actinidin. Besides these proteins found in kiwi, other compounds can also cause an allergic reaction, including 30 kDa thiol-protease actinidin, a common kiwi allergen.

Can my child have a kiwi allergy?

Most times, parents tend to be fearful when giving infants foods and fruits that contain allergens. If you’re one of those people and have a family history of food allergies, you need to speak to your child’s doctor before proceeding. Otherwise, it is essential to note that your child will not get kiwi allergy symptoms the first time they consume the fruit. You will notice the symptoms the second time your child consumes the fruit.

Even though kiwi allergy is common in children,  it is possible they will outgrow the allergy and consume kiwi in peace later in their teenage years. For babies with a kiwi allergy, symptoms will be just like those mentioned above and include crying and irritability. If your baby or child is experiencing kiwi allergy symptoms, it is recommended that you arrange a trip to the doctor’s office.

What foods can I eat with a kiwi allergy?

Sometimes the symptoms of kiwi allergy advance as you keep consuming the fruit. That means they can start as mild and proceed to be severe. If you’re allergic to kiwi, it is best to avoid the fruit. Some people can tolerate it once it’s cooked down as the proteins inactivate. However, if you have severe reactions to kiwi, it is best to avoid it completely.

When trying to avoid kiwi in your diet, it is recommended that you:

  • Let friends and family know that you’re allergic to the fruit when dining at their house.
  • Check the ingredients in mixed fruit products, such as smoothies or juices.

 

Kiwi allergy treatment

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Our Allergy Test Box Kit

The best way to manage kiwi allergy or OAS is by avoiding kiwis and other fruits and vegetables that may cause cross-reactivity. When grocery shopping, ensure you check the ingredients list keenly since kiwi is used in many products.

If you mainly suffer from OAS symptoms and you’re a big fan of kiwi, you can choose to cook it down so you can consume it. Your body will be able to tolerate it that way.

It is best to carry an EpiPen for those who experience severe allergic reactions to kiwi, like anaphylaxis. An EpiPen will reduce the symptoms as you try to locate your way to the doctor’s office.

If you still aren’t sure whether you have a kiwi allergy or not, it is suggested that you take a kiwi Allergy Test. The allergy test will not only look for kiwi allergy in your blood, but it will also compare your sample against other common allergies. So, in case of a true allergy, you will also get a list of fruits and vegetables that you need to stay away from to reduce the symptoms.

How long does a kiwi allergy last

Typically, kiwi allergy symptoms can start a few minutes after ingestion to a few hours later. But even when you begin treatment, an allergy reaction and symptoms can last between two to four weeks. Kiwi allergy symptoms, especially those that show on the skin, take time to disappear completely.

It depends on your age to completely lose a kiwi allergy. Most children outgrow their allergies when they start turning into teenagers. Not all kids will outgrow a kiwi allergy, but most will. So, if your baby has a kiwi allergy, there could be a chance that they will outgrow it.

 

Final thoughts on kiwi allergy

Kiwi allergy is prevalent, especially in children. The good news is that they can eventually outgrow the allergy in most cases. However, if one is suffering from a kiwi allergy, it is best to avoid fruit bowls, salads, and processed kiwi foods. Staying safe will help keep the symptoms at bay. Suppose you keep getting the above kiwi allergy symptoms after consuming the fruit. In that case, you’ll need a kiwi allergy test to help you determine whether it is a kiwi allergy, OAS, or an allergic reaction to another fruit that you mostly pair with kiwi when consuming. Get yourself an Allergy Test today to prevent all the worry over what your allergy is and isn’t.

 

About the Author

Kate Young joined Healthy Stuff in 2021 as our Laboratory Manager, following 7 years in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for the Oak Clinic Group in Japan. Coordinating a team of 6, her expertise in processing protocols and validations has allowed us to gain ISO 9001 accreditation status and work towards Good Lab Practice and further ISO. After completing her BSc Combined Science: Human and Environmental Biological Studies in 1995, she describes herself as having ’detailed research skills and a very innovative mindset’. See Kates Healthy Stuff profile here.

 

References

  1. Jin Wang, Sai Kranthi Vanga, Christine McCusker, Vijaya Raghavan. A Comprehensive Review on Kiwifruit Allergy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management, and Potential Modification of Allergens Through Processing. 29 January 2019 https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12426.
  2. Gawrońska-Ukleja E, et al. (2013). Anaphylaxis after accidental ingestion of kiwi fruit. DOI: 10.5114/pdia.2013.35623.