Allergies to bananas result from eating bananas, or from contact with bananas or foods or products with banana ingredients. Allergies are hypersensitivities to normally innocuous or harmless substances. In the case of a banana allergy, bananas are the allergen that triggers the body's reaction. There are a couple different types of allergies associated with bananas.
Many people who are allergic to banana suffer from Latex-Fruit Syndrome. In people who are allergic to bananas, the body identifies a food protein in bananas as a pathogen, and the immune system "attacks" the protein by releasing antibodies. The protein in bananas that causes this type of allergic reaction is similar to natural latex, and is also found in other tropical fruits including avocado, mango, and kiwi.
Reactions to bananas in people with Latex-Fruit Syndrome include swelling on the face, arm, and chest. Other symptoms can include a rash, hives, vomiting, fever, and can even include life-threatening symptoms. Those with severe reactions need to seek medical care immediately, as anaphylactic reactions are serious. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction to contact with allergens which can cause difficulty breathing and even death.
A second type of allergy to bananas can occur because a different protein in bananas is similar to ones found in tree pollen. People with this type of banana allergy usually suffer from itching and inflammation in the mouth and throat. If this reaction causes trouble breathing, medical help should be sought immediately. This banana allergy is an Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), a Type-1 Allergy. Other symptoms of this type of allergic reaction may include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and indigestion.
Treatment options for these types of allergic reactions to bananas are limited to treating the symptoms of the allergic reaction. For rashes, hives, welts and other skin reactions, cortisone steroid creams can be prescribed by a physician or they could recommend an over the counter solution. Antihistamines, prescription or over the counter, may also be recommended by the allergic patient's physician. Gastrointestinal reactions to banana allergies pose their own treatment problems, as repeated reactions could cause damage and need to be carefully monitored. Self-treatment for symptoms of allergic reactions is not recommended. A patient with a banana allergy needs to have instructions on how to treat their own specific reactions from a physician or doctor, because reactions caused by banana allergies vary so widely.
Regardless of why a person is allergic to bananas, the best "cure" for a banana allergy is to avoid all contact with bananas, as allergy shots do not treat food allergies. As with any allergic reaction, notify your physician immediately if contact with bananas occurs.