Like many food allergies, an allergic reaction to blueberries can occur at any point in a person's life and can include mild to very serious reactions. For some people, a food allergy can quickly become life-threatening and must be dealt with immediately. Knowing some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to blueberries is an important step in ensuring your health or the health of someone you love. As with any medical condition or allergy, seek immediate medical attention from a physician who specializes in allergies.
If a person experiences stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or mild rashes after ingesting even modest quantities of blueberries, they may be allergic to the fruit. Typically, stomach pains are caused by the inability of the intestines to digest the fruit. Vomiting or diarrhea may be an indication of the body's rejection of blueberries as a valid nutritional source; essentially it has identified blueberries as a potential toxin and it is trying to limit exposure to blueberries. Rashes are typical when applying a topical ointment with blueberries and/or blueberry extracts but can also occur when ingesting blueberries in some cases. Rashes are the indication of elevated histamine responses; histamines are your body's response to allergens and is an over-reaction on the part of your immune system. Anti-histamines can alleviate the immediate symptoms.
Stronger reactions can include swelling of soft tissues such as lips, throat, or inside the mouth. Also, itching, severe rashes, or headaches can occur. These are some of the severe symptoms which can occur very quickly. Medical assistance should be sought immediately in these cases as they may get worse, progressing to life-threatening very quickly.
If a person ingests blueberries and experiences: Shortness of breath or "wheezing," Difficulty breathing, Swollen tongue, Rapid heart rate, High blood pressure, or Dizziness and/or fainting, Then they are experiencing anaphylaxis, also called anaphylactic shock, which is fatal if not treated immediately by an emergency medical team. If any of these symptoms occur, call emergency personnel immediately.
Babies under 6 to 9 months should not be given blueberries as part of their diet. The body needs time to develop the enzymes necessary to digest blueberries and, at the very least, the baby will become ill including vomiting and stomach pain. According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, common reactions to blueberries in infants also includes "Angiodema" which is subcutaneous rashes or "welts" that can be extremely sensitive to the touch.
Though there are no "cures" for food allergies, people who experience severe to life-threatening reactions can be prescribed Epinephrine, an injectable drug that arrests the worst symptoms and buys the victim of food allergies time to seek professional medical help. Only a physician can prescribe these one-use pens, and they should be carried with the allergic person in case of accidental exposure.