Peppers come in many varieties, from sweet bell peppers to hot peppers. If you have a reaction to one type of pepper, you may react to others. Many meals, including those made in restaurants, contain whole peppers or a spice, such as ground chili pepper or chili flakes, which may also cause a reaction. Knowing the signs of an allergic reaction to peppers or other types of food may help you identify a problem early so that you can seek any necessary treatment.
Tissue inflammation commonly occurs with a food allergy. You may experience swelling of your lips, tongue or the tissue lining the inside of your mouth. However, inflammation may occur in any location of your body, including areas of your hands, face or throat. A severe allergic reaction may inflame the tissues around your airway, and this could result in difficulty breathing.
You may also experience a rash or hives on your skin, and this may appear around your mouth or in any area of your body. The rash might also itch. If you touched the pepper you could experience a localized rash called contact dermatitis. The area may appear red and have thick, raw-looking scales that drain or crust over. If you touched or scratched your face or other part of your body, you may have a breakout in these other locations as well.
Consuming peppers or other food allergens may also cause gastrointestinal symptoms. You may have nausea and vomiting, and you might also experience diarrhea. In some cases, you could have abdominal pain that can range from mild to severe.
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Food allergies may cause other symptoms as well. You may have a stuffy nose, dizziness, low blood pressure, fast heart rate or loss of consciousness.
If you experience these or any other unusual symptoms after eating, contact your doctor. An oral medication may help relieve inflammation and other symptoms. If you have a rash your doctor may also recommend a medicated cream to help relieve the irritation. Difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness or changes in heart rate require immediate medical attention. If these or other life-threatening symptoms occur, go directly to the nearest emergency medical center.
Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.