Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a “type 1 allergy,” which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a tomato, histamines are released into the exposed areas causing an allergic reaction. Tomato allergens commonly affect the nose, skin, mouth area and respiratory and digestive tracts.
Part of the Nightshade Family
Tomato allergies usually come grouped together with other nightshade sensitivities. Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers (including bell peppers of all colors), eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, and cayenne peppers. Often there could be a crossover reaction to latex (latex-fruit syndrome).
Symptoms will appear shortly after exposure to the tomato. The allergy sufferer could expect to see a skin rash, eczema or hives near the area. They might appear around the mouth and go up the nose. There might be abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea within an hour or two of consumption. An itching sensation in the throat is not uncommon as is coughing sneezing, wheezing or a runny nose. Swelling may occur around the face, mouth, tongue or throat. Very rarely the most extreme allergic response, anaphylaxis, could occur.
Treating the Eczema
Eczema is actually uncommon with most food allergies: only 10 percent of allergy sufferers ever experience eczema. For tomato, though, it is quite common. Eczema will occur immediately upon exposure to the tomato allergen. There may be other skin conditions as well. A topical steroidal ointment will usually treat the symptoms.
Confirming and Treating Your Allergy
Skin prick tests or IgE immunoglobulin blood test will confirm a tomato allergy. Avoidance is the best option, but inadvertent exposure to tomato can be treated with antihistamines and ointments. For a severe allergy, your doctor may have you carry an epinephrine auto-injector to protect yourself.