Oat Allergy Guide | Allergy Test

Oats are a great, healthy breakfast choice found in oatmeal and cereal. Most people choose to eat oats for breakfast because of the quantity of fiber. These gluten-free whole grains are also full of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Despite the many health benefits of oats, they can be dangerous to eat for someone suffering from oat allergy. If you’re allergic to oats, you may find yourself with a runny nose or become blotchy after consuming a bowl of these healthy grains.

 

What causes oat allergy?

Oat allergy results from the protein avenin. If you have an oat allergy, you consume the grain, and the immune system will fight it by producing histamines because it thinks what you’ve eaten is harmful. These histamines produced by the body lead to the symptoms of oat allergy. Your immune system reacts because of the protein avenin, which is found in oats. In reality, oat allergy means you’re allergic to its protein avenin.

Some people who get specific symptoms after consuming oats may not be allergic to these grains but rather have an intolerance. An oat intolerance means that the body can’t break down these grains and process them properly. The inability to break down oats may be due to a lack of certain digestive enzymes or a sensitivity to certain chemicals. The more oats you eat, the more severe your symptoms will be regarding oat intolerance. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how much oats you consume; if you’re allergic to oats, you will get the same symptoms.

Some people get symptoms after eating oats because they are highly sensitive to high-fiber foods. Most of the signs in such situations are experiencing gastric discomfort. You will also notice that people who have an oat intolerance also experience gastric problems, and it’s better to get yourself an Intolerance Test to determine whether you’re suffering from oat intolerance. If not, you can now look into your sensitivity to high-fiber foods.

 

Oat allergy cross-reactivity

Some people experience symptoms after consuming oats not because they are allergic or intolerant to oats but because of gluten sensitivity. Oats don’t contain gluten, but they are processed in industries that handle other grains like wheat, rye, and barley. These additional grains contain gluten, and due to cross-reactivity because of being grown and processed together, a person sensitive to gluten can experience certain symptoms after consuming oats.

Of course, you can easily avoid this. These days, most companies understand how gluten-sensitivity works, and they tend to avoid cross-reactivity between these grains. So, when shopping at your local grocery store, you should check for oats that have “gluten-free” listed on them. When cross-contamination happens, it means that you’ll find trace amounts of gluten on oats which isn’t suitable for people avoiding gluten.

Most of the time, you will also find skincare products that treat conditions like atopic dermatitis have oats as an ingredient. In many cases, the ointments do relieve the symptoms of this chronic type of eczema. However, if you have an oat allergy or sensitivity, these ointments may cause oat allergy symptoms rather than relieve eczema symptoms.

Not all oat allergy symptoms stem from contact with food or skincare products. It is also possible to get an allergic reaction from latex-free exam gloves. Many latex-free gloves contain colloidal oatmeal. If you ever get contact dermatitis symptoms from oats, you need to talk to your doctor.

 

Oat allergy symptoms

Body-wide symptoms of oat allergy mainly occur when you consume foods that contain oats rather than use skincare products with oats as an ingredient. Oat allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe affecting the gut, airways, and gut. These include:

  • Blotchy, irritated, itchy skin
  • Scratchy throat and mouth
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Hives
  • A flushed face
  • A red, itchy rash around the tongue, mouth, or eyes, which can spread to other parts of the body
  • Mild swelling of the lips, eyes, or face
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramp

Keep in mind that some people have a delayed reaction upon contact with oats. Sometimes the symptoms will show up from a few hours to three days after contact. In rare cases, anaphylaxis happens when one consumes oats. You will need to call urgent care for someone you see going through anaphylaxis symptoms in such cases.

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening, and one will need immediate care from a doctor. Also, once you’ve seen a doctor about the condition, you will be advised to carry an EpiPen with you at all times for emergency first aid. You will still need to visit a doctor even after using an EpiPen because sometimes symptoms reoccur 8-11 hours after the initial reaction {1}.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Changes in heart rate could be very slow or very fast
  • Edema or swelling of the face
  • Chest pains
  • A sense of impending doom

 

Oat allergy symptoms in children

Oat allergy can lead to food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). This condition does affect the GI tract, which ends up causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and poor growth. Oat allergy can affect the skin severely when you use a topical product containing these grains. According to research on children with atopic dermatitis, it was found that a considerable number of infants and children with oat allergies had a skin reaction to lotions and other topical creams with oats {2}. Adults, too, may suffer the same responses when using creams with oats.

FPIES is a delayed food allergy reaction, and most of the symptoms are gastrointestinal and happen around 2-6 hours after contact with oats. FPIES, most of the time, affect infants when they start weaning and are eating certain foods for the first time. The symptoms of FPIES always appear similar to those of a severe viral or bacterial infection.

They include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Dehydration due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea

If you notice that your infant or child has these symptoms, it is best to seek help from the doctor. The most common treatment for FPIES includes intravenous rehydration.

 

Oat allergy diagnosis

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Our Allergy Test Box Kit

There are various ways to test for oat allergy, but the simplest one can be done in the comfort of your home. All you’ll have to do for an oat allergy testing is order an Allergy Test online, collect your sample and send it back to the labs for analysis. You will get your results within seven days with the diagnosis and a list of foods to avoid. The allergy test will compare your sample against oat allergens, but it will also check your sample for other common allergens in food and your environment. This way, you’ll also get test results for other common allergens, so you can dismiss any other food culprits that you thought were giving you allergy symptoms.

 

Oat Allergy Treatment

The best oat allergy treatment is avoiding these fiber-rich grains altogether. You will need to cut out any processed foods that contain oats as an ingredient using an elimination diet. But if you are dealing with a gluten allergy, then it is best to consume oats labeled “gluten-free.” Suppose you have an oat allergy and have ever suffered from anaphylaxis. In that case, it is advisable to always have an Epinephrine injector with you in case of an emergency. You never know when you could come in contact with oats unknowingly and suffer from severe symptoms that could be life-threatening.

Those who suffer from mild symptoms of oat allergy can always use over-the-counter antihistamines, which will help soothe your itchy mouth and skin. If you experience asthma symptoms, you should take corticosteroids to relieve breathing problems.

When purchasing products in the grocery store, you need to check for labels like “might contain oats” or “manufactured in a facility that uses oats ingredients.” Checking for such tags will save you from suffering from oat allergy symptoms.

 

Foods to avoid with oat allergy

When you’re allergic to oats, it is evident that you need to keep away from oats. But sometimes, people still consume other foods and drinks, not knowing they contain oats. You will also need to avoid:

  • Oat flour
  • Oat milk
  • Cereals that contain oats
  • Baked goods that contain oats
  • Snacks that have oats as ingredients
  • Some beers

When eating out, you will need to inform your host or chef of your oat allergy, so they won’t cook using the food product. You will also need to keep away from lotions and other topical products containing oats as ingredients.

 

Final thoughts on oat allergy

When you have an oat allergy, you need to be careful with what you apply to your skin and the foods you consume. The symptoms of oat allergy can range from mild to severe. If you suspect that you may have an oat allergy, it is recommended that you order an Allergy Test to determine if you are allergic to oats. If the results signify you are allergic to oats, you will need to avoid them altogether, whether in tropical ingredients or your foods.

 

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. Kates enjoys working with the management team and has a close relationship with Dr. Fornari in the lab team. 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. See Kates Healthy Stuff profile here.

 

References

  1. Kevin McLendon; Britni T. Sternard. Anaphylaxis. December 21, 2021. NIH. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482124/
  2. P Boussault 1, C Léauté-Labrèze, E Saubusse, S Maurice-Tison, M Perromat, S Roul, A Sarrat, A Taïeb, F Boralevi. Oat sensitization in children with atopic dermatitis: prevalence, risks, and associated factors. 2007, NIH. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17919139/