mustard allergy

Mustard Allergy, Symptoms, and How to Treat It?

Mustard is included in the list of the 14 major allergens that can quickly cause allergic reactions in the body. Food allergy isn’t a minor issue; it can be fatal if ignored and not treated promptly.

According to Health Canada, mustard is on the priority food allergens list. A priority food allergen refers to the food items that are responsible for the majority of allergic reactions. 

When it’s so common, you shouldn’t waste time asking if “Can I be allergic to mustard?” Of course, you can develop mustard allergy as it can affect anyone without gender or age discrimination. 

But, luckily you can get rid of mustard allergy if you diagnose the symptoms early. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about mustard allergy so you can make informed decisions if you get an allergic reaction due to mustard. 

mustard allergy

Mustard Allergy Symptoms

The allergic reaction to mustard can occur immediately or after two hours. Your immune system identifies mustard as an allergen if you have a mustard allergy. So, as soon as it enters your body, the immune system becomes active and starts producing antibody IgE which removes harmful allergens from the body. 

Depending on the amount of mustard intake and your sensitivity to it, you’ll feel the symptoms of mild and severe allergy symptoms. Symptoms of mild mustard allergy are: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Itching or skin rashes 
  • Hives 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Stomach cramps 
  • Swollen face, tongue, throat, and lips

When your mustard allergy is serious, it’s called anaphylaxis. It’s a severe condition that can prove fatal if not treated well and timely. The symptoms of severe mustard allergy or anaphylaxis are: 

  • Difficulty in breathing that mostly occurs due to throat swelling 
  • Irregular and fast pulse 
  • Rapid fall and disturbance in blood pressure 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Chest pain

If you have a family history of food allergy and experience these symptoms, you must respond quickly. The risk of mustard allergy or any other food allergy is higher if an immediate family member already has this condition. 

Mustard foods to avoid

Why pay doctor’s bills when you can avoid a health issue? You can save yourself from mild to severe mustard allergies with little care. To do this, avoid these foods that might have mustard and can trigger mustard allergy reaction in your body: 

  • Barbeque sauce 
  • Curries 
  • Fish paste 
  • Steamed greens 
  • Pickles 
  • Seasonings
  • Salad dressing 
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Ketchup 
  • Stocks 
  • Canned baby foods 
  • Pickled sausage 
  • Pretzels and chips 
  • Processed meats 

Not all the countries list mustard as an allergen yet, so you don’t find it specifically mentioned on the labels of processed food items. So, you have to be careful while picking food items when you’re allergic to mustard. 

It’s commonly used as a spice in Russian and Indian cuisines. To ensure you don’t consume mustard, ask the server about the dish’s ingredients if you’re eating Indian or Russian cuisines. 

Diagnosis of Mustard Allergy 

Although, it’s easy to diagnose an allergy when you understand the symptoms, going to a doctor is recommended. Medical tests are necessary to confirm the cause of the allergy to get the best treatment that will help you recover soon and won’t let the condition worsen. 

Once you go to a doctor, he will examine your symptoms and check your family history. Even for experienced allergy specialists, it can be hard to diagnose a mustard allergy, especially looking at the symptoms. So, you have to undergo medical tests that your doctor will suggest. 

Skin prick tests and blood tests are most commonly recommended when you’re suspected of having a mustard allergy. But, even if your reports show positive results, it does not always mean you’re allergic to mustard. In such cases, your doctor will recommend a “food challenge” to confirm mustard allergy. 

To do this, you consume a small amount of mustard and then increase the amount gradually to see if your body reacts or not. But, you can’t do a food challenge to confirm mustard allergy at home because the situation can become serious if you’re allergic to mustard. 

Mustard Allergy Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with a mustard allergy, get any of the following suitable mustard allergy treatments to get rid of this life-threatening situation as soon as possible. 

  • The first step to treating mustard allergy is avoiding food items that can transfer this allergen to your body. 
  • If you’re an asthma patient, your doctor will recommend inhaling corticosteroids. Your breathing problems that can worsen due to mustard allergy will heal with corticosteroids. 
  • When you have the risk of anaphylaxis, you’ll be asked to get an epinephrine injection. In severe cases, you must take the epinephrine injection always and learn how to administer it yourself. 
  • If you have a mild mustard allergy, then there is nothing to worry about as you can also treat it with drugs. The most commonly prescribed drugs for mustard allergy are antihistamines. But, these drugs don’t help when you have an anaphylaxis attack after consuming mustard. 

Tips for Preventing Mustard Allergy 

It’s a famous quote that says; Prevention is better than cure. Follow the following preventive tips to avoid mustard allergy if you don’t want to visit doctors often. 

  • Be careful of the cross-contamination, especially at restaurants. Your food might get some mustard when it’s being prepared with other food items. 
  • Tell your friends and family about your allergy, so that they can be prepared for emergencies.
  • Avoid buffets and salad bars as they often have mustard. 
  • Always read the ingredient labels before consuming any food item.