Are you allergic to Bananas?
Bananas. When the 'Healthy' option is the bad choice because of allergies
Can you be allergic to bananas? The quick answer is yes you can. I had personal experience of this when my son was a baby. Read how it affected him, his symptoms, and how we had to solve the problem.
Bananas are very often the first fruit we feed our children. The ease with which they can be mashed make them an ideal early food.
It is very rarely that babies are identified with a banana reaction. For my son, his allergy to this fruit was the cause of his ADHD symptoms.
My Experiences With Banana Allergies
About My son, Aiden
When my second son was around 15 months old he started to have strange 'fits'. These always followed the same pattern, he would bang his hear repetitively, on the walls, his cot or the floor. His temperature would rise dramatically. He would vomit, and then fall into a deep sleep lasting 12-15 hours. This was unusual because he never slept for more than 2 hours at a time right from birth, except when he had these symptoms.
The first few times this happened I spent several hours in casualty while he was being monitored. Eventually they told me they thought it was a kind of cerebral migraine, causing a reaction similar to an epileptic fit.
As he got older, he was investigated for ADHD. He still hardly slept at all and still had occasional fits where he became aggressive and violent, before vomiting and sleeping for anything up to 18 hours. I thought he had a very healthy diet. We were friends with a green grocer and always had lots of fruit and veg in the house. I encouraged the boys to eat fruit rather than sweets.
By the time he was 4 he had a diagnosis and we were trying the exclusion diet to see if that controlled his symptoms.
He was really good about following the diet. He stayed at nursery for lunch 2 days a week and the school cook made a point of making him something special that he could eat. His favourite was banana split.
I was shocked when the nutritionist told me the only food he had shown an intolerance to was bananas.
We cut them out of his diet immediately. Even though they were one of his favourite foods, he was really good at avoiding them. He knew how bad they made him feel, even at that young age.
One day, when he was 7 a neighbour met him from school (I was otherwise occupied giving birth). She knew Aiden was on a restricted diet, no additives etc... So she took him a banana. He told her he wasn't allowed it and she, misunderstanding him to mean he wasn't to take treats off strangers, told him it was ok to eat it.
No one ever made that mistake again.
Within minutes he was flying into an unprovoked violent rage, throwing things, hitting people and screaming. It only stopped when he had vomited and slept for almost 20 hours. Luckily no serious damage was done.
My year old grandson recently had a similar reaction. His mum had given him banana for lunch. His dad, one of my other sons, recognised the symptoms were the same as Aiden's.
Types of Banana Allergies
There are two types of banana allergys: one associated with allergy to tree pollens, such as birch, and another type associated with latex allergy. People with birch-pollen allergy can develop symptoms either immediately or up to 1 hour after eating fresh banana or a banana-containing food. Symptoms comprise local reactions in the mouth and throat with itching and inflammation.
Some people develop banana allergy because of the similarity between the allergens in banana and natural rubber latex (e.g. gloves, condoms, balloons) a condition known as the latex-fruit syndrome. Symptoms include generalised urticaria, abdominal pain, vomiting and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. These individuals often develop adverse reactions to chestnut, avocado, mango and kiwi.
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Dealing with a Banana Allergy
How we coped
The only way we could stop the extreme reactions Aiden had after eating bananas was to ensure he avoided eating them. From a very young age, he learnt to associate the pain and discomfort he felt after eating a banana and evaluate it in relation to the pleasure he felt when eating one.
Even at 4 years old he was able to cooperate in controlling his diet and appreciated the value of what we were trying to do.
We never avoided having bananas in the house. I had 3 other children who enjoyed them. I don't believe you should deprive one child because of a food allergy in another. I think you should educate the afflicted child to understand their own body and reactions. This was the approach we used. And I found that the children were perfectly capable of monitoring their own healthy choices if allowed to do so.
As an adult, Aiden joined the army, in the Parachute regiment. Ironically, his ADHD patterns of sleep helped him to pass the rigorous training. HE joked that when his regiment went into a war zone, they should just give him a banana and send him in first. He still remembers the fury and rage he felt as a child.
AS an adult, he finds that he can occasionally tolerate the occasional banana as a rare treat...as long as he is alone and has no plans for the rest of the day. He has tried this a few times and has come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it.