Halloween and Thanksgiving are holidays where pumpkins abound. Children gleefully draw menacing faces on pumpkins while adults sit back and enjoy a slice of hot pumpkin pie. But for some kids carving a pumpkin or eating a piece of pumpkin pie can be unpleasant – or even dangerous – especially for children who are allergic to pumpkin.
Kids can have an allergy to pumpkin without parents even knowing it – and a pumpkin allergy can come on out of the blue in a child with no prior history of “pumpkin problems”. Kids don’t necessarily have to bite into a piece of pumpkin pie or eat a piece of pumpkin bread to develop allergy symptoms. Simply carving a face in a pumpkin can bring on wheezing, sneezing and chest tightness in a child who’s allergic to pumpkin.
How Do You Know if Your Child is Allergic to Pumpkin?
If your child develops wheezing, chest tightness, swelling around the eyes, sneezing, or itching after carving or handling a pumpkin or eating a pumpkin dessert, it may not be a cold but a pumpkin allergy. Many parents aren’t aware of the possibility of a pumpkin allergy, and don’t consider it when their kids develop symptoms after eating or carving a pumpkin.
Other Uncommon Allergies in Kids
At a recent conference of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, researchers discussed not only pumpkin allergies in kids, but another less well-known allergen – to caterpillars. Yes, kids can be allergic to caterpillars. They can develop symptoms from simply touching them, but airborne debris from these slinky creatures can cause chest tightness, wheezing and sneezing in kids who are allergic to them. Kids enjoy raising caterpillars and watching them turn into butterflies, but children who experience allergic symptoms around them should avoid them as much as possible.
Allergy to Pumpkin and Caterpillars: The Bottom Line?
Being allergic to pumpkin or caterpillars certainly aren’t the most common types of allergies kids experience, but it’s important for parents to recognize them to protect their kids from more dangerous allergic complications such as anaphylaxis that can come from repeat exposure. Be aware of what makes your child cough, sneeze, itch and wheeze and if you think they’re due to allergy, let your child’s doctor know.
Medical News Today. “Pumpkin Pie Not a Treat for Some Allergic Children”.