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Am i Allergy to radish?

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I ate about 3 small raw radishes by themselves last night. Soon after eating them my tongue tingled a little bit. I drank some water to relieve the sensation. A few minutes later my throat tightened a little bit (did not close) but my breathing remained steady and unaffected. I woke up this morning with a little sinus congestion and my throat is still slightly tight and now itchy. I researched foods with salicylates in them online and confirmed that I have never had an allergic reaction to any of the other foods (blueberries, cauliflower, beer, cheese). I have only been known to have seasonal allergies. I was curious if there are any other chemical compounds in the radish that are possible allergy triggers, or if it is common to be allergic to only one specific food in its family (like a shrimp allergy, but no reactions to lobster and crab). My sudden reaction could have been induced by the sudden Spring weather, but I wanted to know more information before I shrug it off or get tested.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.


Allergy is due to body's immune system reacting to certain proteins or protein components. Allergy can be caused by anything with protein components which can trigger immune reaction. The susceptibility to various food allergies varies from person to person and same person may not be allergic to all food. Although usually when one is allergic to a food product or vegetable/fruit belonging to a group they might be having cross allergies to all other members of that group like for example foods containing salicylates as you mentioned. But even in such a case, the amount of the offending component like salicylate can vary in amount in different foods. So, some foods may not have sufficient amount of allergen to cause reaction in a person.

As I mentioned any protein component can trigger allergic reaction, other protein components of radish can be responsible in your case. Although your symptoms appear to be mild and can be easily due to seasonal variation, there is no harm in getting tested for possible food allergies. A food challenge test using suspected food item, in this case radish, can be done in hospital condition to test for food allergy. In food allergies reaction might be severe in second exposure. So it is better to be tested in hospital by a physician as anaphylaxis can occur sometimes following repeat exposure.

Hope this helps. Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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