Coffee allergy is similar to any food allergy, the only problem is that caffeine is used as an active ingredient in many products that we eat or drink in our day to day life. Even some fruits and vegetables also contain a small percentage of caffeine that many people may not even be aware of.
Though many people like drinking soda and coffee on a regular basis, some may not even realize that they are allergic to it. Caffeine allergy symptoms may vary depending upon the intensity of a person’s allergy. A person who is allergic to caffeine is not able to efficiently metabolize or process caffeine. As a result, such patients experience inflammation or hypersensitivity in certain organs.
Coffee allergy – symptoms
The symptoms of coffee allergy may not show up instantly. In some cases, it may take several hours or even days before the symptoms become noticeable. The severity of the reactions can be classified between mild and severe.
- Cold sweats
- Extreme jitters
- Hives and rashes
- Itchy mouth
- Difficulty of swallowing
- Headaches and migraines
- Swollen throat, lips, tongue, and face
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Difficulty of breathing
- Chest pains
- Delusions and hallucinations Heart palpitations
- Inability to focus or concentrate
Products containing coffee extracts of caffeine include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Chocolate bars
- Caffeine tablets
- Chocolate drinks
- Cocoa beans
- Coffee and chocolate body scrub
- Tea drinks
- Tea bags
- Cola-flavoured carbonated soda
- Energy bars
- Ice cream
- Instant ready to eat oat-meals
- Coffee and chocolate body wash
Caffeine can also be used in many over-the-counter available drugs, primarily used for treating headaches, pains and cold. Even some weight loss pills use coffee extracts to boost results.
How to diagnose a coffee allergy?
Diagnosing coffee allergy is a complicated procedure. Caffeine allergy symptoms can resemble other allergies and some mental problems like panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder. Most allergies are diagnosed after performing blood cultures and skin tests to make sure that caffeine is the reason for the allergic reaction.
Those who suffer from mild reactions should keep a diary of foods and drinks that you consume every day. A food diary can help your doctor find a pattern of allergies to be able to make a correct diagnosis. It will also help the diagnostic team rule out other possible disorders so appropriate treatment can be given immediately.
85% of people consume caffeinated foods and beverages almost every day. 50% of these people claim to be caffeine-addicted. Once your body gets used to consuming a certain amount of caffeine per day, the addiction can be difficult to cure.
The only successful way to eliminate caffeine allergic reactions is to remove the caffeine entirely from the system. Thus, allergic people must avoid consuming or even using products that contain caffeine. Avoiding de-caffeinated products is also important since these do contain small traces of caffeine.
If you’re addicted to coffee or caffeinated beverages, start avoiding coffee and replace it with healthy alternatives such as:
- Apple juice
- Fresh fruit juices
- Low-fat milk
- Plain water
- Unsalted biscuits
To ensure that all the household items do not have caffeine, carefully check the product label before buying anything. When purchasing OTC drugs or medications for common cold or headache, ask the pharmacist if your regular medicine has caffeine as an active or inactive ingredient. If yes, look for alternatives.
In the case of an unexpected coffee allergy attack, seek immediate help from a medical expert. If you feel breathing difficulty or get seizures, call 911 or ask someone to get you to the doctor as soon as possible.