Cucumber allergy is not commonly reported, but it can cause adverse reactions. Cucumbers are in the Cucurbitaceae family of plants which also includes pumpkins and melons. Hypersensitivity reactions to other fruits are commonly reported as well (see below).Cucumbers are popular long, lean, and green garden vegetables. Technically, they’re fruits from the same family as watermelons and pumpkins, but most people consider them veggies. Cucumbers are native to India, have a slight melon-like taste, and sometimes can be slightly bitter.
Health benefits of cucumber are that they are loaded with water and fiber, they can keep you hydrated and avoid constipation. Cucumbers contain 5 calories per ounce and only very small amounts of nutrients. They are a source of Vitamin K and A. Cucumber has been implicated in an array of adverse reactions, latex-fruit syndrome, oral allergy syndrome and anaphylaxis.
Types of Reactions to Cucumber:
- Latex-fruit syndrome-People allergic to latex may also have reactions to cucumber as their proteins are similar. Other foods in this category are bananas, kiwi, chestnuts and papaya. These reactions occur in 30-50% of people with latex allergy.
- Oral Allergy Syndrome-symptoms typically occur with mouth itching and swelling of lips and tongue. Patients allergic to ragweed pollen can describe symptoms of oral allergy syndrome to cucumber. This is not a true cucumber allergy, but a cross reactivity of the proteins to the ragweed pollen. Treatment is heating the fruit or just avoiding it. Other foods in this category include banana, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini
- Anaphylaxis-symptoms that occur are hives, swelling, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and low blood pressure. This leads to IgE mast cell degranulation. Allergy skin testing, specific IgE lab testing and fresh food skin testing with cucumber all can be used to test for cucumber allergy.
- High Salicylates-Cucumber is a food high in salicylates, so has the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
Reactions to cucumber can thus come in different forms. An allergy doctor can help decipher what type of reaction one is having to cucumber and to do the appropriate tests for establishing or ruling out a diagnosis of clinical allergy. If one is allergic to cucumber and not the latex/fruit or oral allergy form, an epinephrine autoinjector should be prescribed. A study here describes a subset of patients who had cucumber allergy hypersensitivity reactions. Cucumber Allergy and Latex IgE Sensitization