Cottonseed oil is basically extracted from the cotton plant seeds from a species of the cotton plant specifically Gossypium herbaceum. As one of the several genetically-modified crops such as soy, canola and corn, the cotton plants and the cottonseed oil taken from this species is usually used in oils, salad dressings and even in mayonnaise. The consumption of cottonseed oil must be monitored due to its high omega-6 fatty acid and its likelihood to increase the risk for diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. Even though cottonseed oil allergy is uncommon, those who experience a reaction might end up with symptoms that affect both the respiratory system and the skin.
The source of the allergen in cottonseed oil is the 2S protein. This is a water-soluble protein that contains functional, structural and biochemical properties that are responsible for determining its potential for causing an allergy. The protein is influenced by the cysteine residues and preserves the strength to pass through the acidic stomach barriers and trigger inflammation to the mucosal immune system. This will trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals.
Effects on the skin
The allergic response triggered by the 2S proteins in cottonseed oil that came in contact with the skin usually include atopic dermatitis and even minor swell or hives in severe cases. Those who suffer from atopic dermatitis due to cottonseed oil will experience patches of itchy, red, flaky skin. Take note that the interior part of the elbows and knees are susceptible to this form of reaction if exposure is widespread all over the body. Oftentimes, this reaction can be mistaken for psoriasis where the wrong treatment is given. In case recent contact with cottonseed oil is followed by the manifestation of atopic dermatitis, it can be treated by washing the area and provide the individual with an antihistamine if needed. If you want to be prepared to handle an allergic reaction, read here.
Respiratory and digestive reactions
The ingestion of cottonseed oil by an individual who is allergic to the 2S protein can trigger asthma-like symptoms, bronchospasms, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The bronchospasms are unusually powerful contractions of the bronchi muscle that causes the constriction of the airways and obstructs the normal breathing process.
The inflammation of the lining in the lungs is also another reaction that is usually seen in asthma, bronchitis and allergic reactions. The coughing also occurs during bronchial spasms as the individual attempts to clear the airways in order to take in oxygen.
During a severe allergic reaction to cottonseed oil, low blood pressure or hypotension can develop which can possibly lead to shock and unconsciousness. Hypotension occurs if the brain and heart does not receive enough blood to function normally. Once the severity of hypotension becomes life-threatening, it is called as anaphylactic shock and requires immediate medical attention. Even though anaphylaxis is rare during an allergic reaction, the mild forms of hypertension are not due to the abrupt reaction of the immune system to the allergen.