Am I allergic to cayenne pepper?

Cayenne or capsicum refers to red peppers with hot to spicy flavors. It is important to note that the spiciness level of cayenne is based on the concentration of capsaicinoids. These are alkaloid compounds that can irritate the mucous membranes and the skin.

Chili peppers and red peppers contain high levels of capsaicinoids while paprika has a lower concentration. A doctor should be consulted regarding the side effects of cayenne since it is available in supplement form but also present in curries and spicy dishes.

Do I have an allergy?

Generally, the immune system utilizes the white blood cells to attack the allergens. If an individual is allergic to cayenne pepper, the immune system wrongly identifies the capsaicinoids as a threat and releases histamine to destroy them.

The individual might experience a runny nose or a skin rash known as hives.

This chemical is responsible for the allergy symptoms in the nose, throat, respiratory system, GI tract and the skin. The reactions typically arise right away or a few hours after being exposed and might also manifest after ingesting even minimal traces of cayenne.

What are the primary symptoms?

The initial indications of an allergic reaction to cayenne pepper include the following:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Tightness of the throat
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

The individual might experience a runny nose or a skin rash known as hives. Take note that hives are elevated, reddened welts that manifest on the surface of the skin and are generally itchy.

Am I at risk for anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a serious, dangerous reaction to cayenne. The immune system triggers the systemic release of histamine which causes a significant drop in the blood pressure which is called as shock.

The indications of anaphylaxis include the following:

  • Skin rash
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

There is also a feeling of warmth, difficulty breathing, lump in the throat or sensation of impending doom. Bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if anaphylaxis is suspected since it can lead to loss of consciousness and even death if left untreated.

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