A Rash is an Allergic Reaction
If an individual develops a rash-like reaction after consuming popcorn, he may have a food allergy. Food allergies can develop at any point in a person’s life; some individuals are born with allergies to certain foods while others develop the allergy later in life. An allergic reaction is, in essence, an immune system response to an unwelcome food product. When the body receives a product to which it is allergic, it perceives the food as a threat to its well being and attacks it in much the same way it attacks germs and bacteria. When this attack takes place, the individual may experience a skin rash, sometimes accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and even chest pain. Some food products to which people are commonly allergic are milk and dairy products, soy and wheat, all of which may be present in some popcorn recipes.
Popcorn May Contain Allergens
While the most basic component of popcorn is simple, natural corn, most popcorn has other additives that may induce an allergic reaction. Many popcorn makers and instant popcorn manufacturers add butter to their products, and the dairy components in butter can induce a reaction in individuals who are allergic to diary products. Salt is another common popcorn additive, and individuals who are sensitive to sodium may experience a rash-like reaction when ingesting large quantities of salt. Less common but still popular additives like caramel, soy, oil and even chocolate can bring about a similar response when an individual is allergic to these products, although the addition of chocolate and caramel are generally apparent enough so that allergic individuals avoid the toppings altogether. Finally, some individuals are allergic to corn itself, a condition that leads to a rash anytime popcorn is consumed regardless of any additional flavoring or additives.
Allergic Reactions May be Serious
If an individual develops a rash shortly after eating popcorn, it may become necessary for her to seek medical attention. Food allergies may be accompanied by nausea, stomach pain and chest pain, but more serious complications like swelling of the airways and anaphylaxis may shut down the body’s ability to breathe or function, resulting in serious injuries or even death. Because food allergies can develop at almost any point in a person’s life, an unexpected rash that occurs after eating popcorn should be seen as a serious allergic reaction and treated with an immediate hospital visit. Individuals who have previously experienced reactions to popcorn should avoid the product or, if complete abstinence is not practical, attempt to indulge in plain, unflavored popcorn with no additives or preservatives to which an allergic reaction may occur.