Red pepper can refer to many types of capsicums ranging from mild bell peppers eaten cooked or raw to the fiery chili peppers ground as a spice to add heat to food. While these fruits originated in the tropics, they can now be found in the food of many cultures.
Allergies occur when the body produces an attack response against a substance that is not harmful. Food allergies occur because of this reaction in a food that someone consumes. About 2 percent of all American adults and 4 to 8 percent of American children have a food allergy. Symptoms range for just slightly annoying itching or flushing to fatal anaphylaxis. Some common symptoms are tightening of the airways, watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, hives, rash and itching. Some symptoms go away immediately after the allergen is removed, but others require medical attention.
Allergic Reactions to Red Peppers
Red peppers contain profilin, Bet v 1 and osmotin, depending on the type of pepper. Of the vast array of types of red peppers, most contain these three proteins. These three proteins are known allergens, or substances that cause allergic reactions. Red peppers have been shown to cause constriction of the airways, making it hard for the sufferer to breathe. They can also cause a rash or inflammation on the skin.
Irritation Caused By Red Pepper
The compound that makes some red peppers taste hot is capsaicin. Capsaicin is also sold and marketed as a topical analgesic because of its numbing properties. Whether rubbing a pepper against or skin or applying the cream, capsaicin can cause irritation, resulting in a rash or inflammation.
Many allergies can cause a person to break out in a rash. If you think you might have an allergy, consult a doctor. The doctor will be able to conduct tests, including skin prick tests and serum immunoglobulin E tests, to determine the specific allergy. Red peppers are often used as one of many ingredients in recipes, making it hard to tell exactly which item caused the reaction.
- Food Allergies: Reducing Risk
- Allergy Info: Bell Pepper
- "Internatonal Archives of Allergy and Immunology"; Bell Peppers (Capsicum annuum) Express allergens (profilin, pathogenesis-related protein P23 and Bet v 1) Depending on the Horticultural Strain; Jensen-Jarolim et al; 1998
- Drugs.com: Capsicum Peppers
Kristina Davis has written professionally since 2006. Her writing is published in "AIDS Care" and various public health newsletters. She has worked on public health programs focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, child nutrition, adult nutrition, diabetes education, worksite wellness and health advocacy. A certified health-education specialist, Davis holds a Masters of Science in nutrition and wellness and a Master of Public Health from Benedictine University.