It’s no secret that garlic is a culinary hero – bursting with delicious flavor and cardiovascular health benefits, and it has been a staple in traditional medicines for hundreds of years. It is widely sold raw as a powder, extract, or oil.
In rare cases, some people are allergic to garlic (both cooked and raw), leading to troublesome symptoms ranging from a mild rash and a runny nose to more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath.
Throughout this post, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about:
- Why your body might be having an allergic reaction to garlic
- The key symptoms of garlic allergy
- Garlic allergy diagnosis and treating your symptoms
Keep reading to learn more about how to notice the signs of garlic allergy in you or your loved ones today, helping you take proactive actions to keep safe and tend to your symptoms.
How Does An Allergic Reaction to Garlic Work?
Garlic allergies are caused when your body’s immune system mistakenly interprets garlic as harmful, creating antibodies that trigger the release of histamine and other defensive chemicals to ‘protect’ you from the threat.
It is these chemicals that then launch a full-blown allergic reaction, activating your body’s inflammatory response and unpleasant symptoms. These reactions can occur immediately when you come into contact with garlic or within two hours.
Compared with other food allergies, garlic allergies are rare.
Garlic allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What’s The Difference?
It is possible to experience an adverse reaction to garlic without being allergic. This is called food intolerance, and it tends to be caused when your body lacks the enzyme needed to digest a specific food type.
Garlic intolerance symptoms tend to be milder than an allergy and are centered around the digestive tract, such as stomach pain or heartburn.
Intolerance to garlic can, unfortunately, be a significant problem for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and requires medical attention.
What Are The Main Symptoms of Garlic Allergy?
Garlic Allergy symptoms tend to range from mild to severe. These may include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Skin inflammation
- Tingling sensation across the lips, mouth, or tongue
- Nasal congestion, including a runny nose or sneezing
- Vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- A sudden drop in blood pressure, accompanied by an anaphylaxis reaction
Anaphylaxis: Warning Signs
Anaphylaxis can be a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention. If you or your loved one experience any of the following symptoms, we’d urge you to seek emergency help right away:
- A racing pulse
- Sudden drops in blood pressure
- Swelling around the throat, including struggles to breathe
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Other Foods To Avoid
Garlic is part of the allium family, which is a food group that also contains many popular vegetables such as:
- Onions and shallots
If you are allergic to garlic, therefore, it is likely that your immune system may react to these foods, too, in a process called cross-reactivity.
It is also worth noting that thanks to its punchy flavor, garlic or garlic extract is often added to many packaged or processed foods such as boxed rice, sauces, stews, and bread. So, read food labels carefully to avoid triggering an allergic reaction.
Seeking Medical Help
To receive a garlic allergy diagnosis, the first step often involves visiting an allergist who will likely complete a blood test and a skin prick test to measure your body’s reaction to controlled amounts of garlic exposure.
As with many food allergies, keeping a detailed food diary can be a great way to help you and your allergist identify exactly which ingredients might be triggering your adverse reactions.
Especially if you’re experiencing a severe allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend an elimination diet where you cut out garlic entirely. As with all food allergies, however, we invite you to seek professional support before attempting to alter or restrict your diet.
How To Treat A Garlic Allergy Rash
One of the most common symptoms of a garlic allergy is skin inflammation, hives, and an itchy rash such as contact dermatitis.
If you’ve ingested or eaten garlic and your skin’s now paying the price, don’t fret! We’ve got some treatment solutions for you:
Use An Anti-Inflammatory Moisturizer
This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is bursting with nourishing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial ingredients, such as manuka honey, olive oil, and organic beeswax, to help you keep your allergic reaction in check and soothe your skin.
Apply to your affected area twice daily or as often as needed to provide intensive relief from itching and swelling.
Use A Natural Soap
Suppose you’ve been chopping garlic in the kitchen, and now your hands have flared up in an itchy rash, or you’ve walked into a restaurant where you’ve ingested lots of garlic powder in the air.
In these circumstances, finding a gentle soap to help you wash the remnants of these garlic traces off your skin is essential.
This Tallow Bar Soap with Zinc was explicitly made for sensitive skin to calm skin conditions like red, irritated eczema, and rashes. Zinc pyrithione is used in various natural skin care products to help reduce skin inflammation associated with rashes, allergies, or irritation. It is also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and helps heal wounds.
Wear Hypoallergenic Clothing
Particularly in the case of contact dermatitis, we’d encourage you to avoid wearing clothing made from irritating fabrics, which could make your allergic reaction even worse.
Your underwear is often the item of clothing that comes into contact with your skin, so if you’re struggling with an outbreak of hives, we recommend finding soft, breathable underwear alternatives that promise to treat your skin kindly.
The 100% Organic Cotton Bra Liner, 100% Organic Cotton Women’s Latex Free Panties, and 100% Organic Cotton Men’s Drawstring Boxers have been made to bring you comfort and peace of mind. The hypoallergenic material is latex-free, spandex, and chemical-free. The soft cotton won’t irritate the skin and will wick away moisture to prevent further discomfort.
Hives tend to spread across your chest, so if you’re looking for full-body anti-itch relief, we’d recommend the Remedywear™ Long Sleeve Shirt for Adults. Made from TENCEL and anti-inflammatory zinc, these psoriasis shirts offer anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, making them the perfect treatment for hives and rashes.
Notice and Treat Your Garlic Allergy Symptoms Today
Follow these tips to help you recognize the main symptoms of garlic allergy in you or your loved ones, taking proactive action to seek help and soothe your symptoms naturally and effectively today.