Rice is a food staple for literally billions of people world wide, but in some cases allergies to this prevalent grain can develop. Symptoms can be mildly discomforting to absolutely life-threatening and being able to spot the signs of a rice allergy could potentially save a life. As with any medical condition, consult a physician immediately if you suspect an allergy to rice.
Typical rice allergy symptoms include bloated stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rash. Rice that is ingested can cause gasses to build up or cause loose stools if your body lacks the enzymes to break down rice. Vomiting usually occurs when the body has identified rice as an invalid nutritional source and is trying to rid the body of rice quickly to avoid a potential "toxin." Rashes usually occur if a lotion, shampoo or other topical product contains rice or rice derivatives but can also occur after rice is ingested. In this case, anti-histamines are being sent to the skin's surface to combat what your body perceives as a threat.
Mild signs include stomach aches or itchy soft tissues, such as that located inside the mouth. These are mild reactions to rice allergies and will most likely become more severe if you are exposed to rice again. Mild allergic can occur spontaneously at any age, but are more likely in children.
Severe, even life-threatening, reactions can also occur at any time and without warning. They include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue or larynx, a drop in blood pressure or rapid pulse. This is a condition known as anaphylactic shock and can be fatal if medical attention is not sought immediately.
Though there is no cure for rice allergies, there are ways to minimize the risk of reactions recurring. First, remove all rice and rice-based products from your diet and personal care products. Second, seek medical advice from a physician who specializes in allergies. Finally, read labels of products that are unfamiliar or which have "new" formulas to prevent accidental exposure.
In some cases of severe allergic reaction, such as a previous anaphylactic shock episode, some people may need to carry an epinephrine syringe, called an "Epie pen," on them when dining out. Epinephrine interrupts the most severe reactions your body may have if exposed to rice, allowing you time to reach an emergency room or call an ambulance. Epinephrine can only be prescribed by a physician.