Could Your Recent Aversion To Coffee Or Soda Be A Caffeine Allergy?

Health & Medical Blog

If you've been an avid coffee or caffeinated soda drinker for years, you may be dismayed to find that the drinks you love no longer love you back -- causing heart palpitations, nausea, unpleasant digestive symptoms, or even a rash after consumption. What can you do to isolate these symptoms to one specific ingredient you're consuming, and (short of going cold turkey) is there anything you can do to manage your symptoms? Read on to learn more about the development of coffee and caffeine allergies, as well as what you can do to diagnose and treat an allergy you've developed later in your adult life. 

Can someone be allergic to coffee?

Although coffee allergies have been sporadically reported (often by workers exposed to large amounts of coffee dust during the packaging process), they haven't been extensively studied or documented at all, and many of the allergic reactions attributed to coffee could instead be due to a caffeine allergy. A small subsection of individuals are highly allergic to caffeine, to the point of needing immediate medical intervention to prevent anaphylactic shock upon caffeine consumption. Milder but still serious allergic reactions can include a quickly-spreading itchy rash, a racing heartbeat (far faster than would be experienced even after a high dose of caffeine), or vomiting. 

On the other hand, if drinking decaffeinated coffee causes you to present with the same symptoms as full-caffeine coffee yet you can drink caffeinated cola or eat chocolate with no ill effects, it's possible your allergy lies within the coffee bean itself. Meanwhile, those who have digestive upset after drinking diet soda could be reacting negatively to the artificial sweeteners used.

What should you do if you suspect you have a caffeine allergy? 

Because mild allergies can worsen quickly without notice, it's best to visit an allergist for testing if you suspect you might be developing a caffeine allergy. Depending upon the severity of your allergy and the ease with which you can avoid exposure to caffeine, you may want to opt to keep an epinephrine pen on hand in the event you ingest caffeine and suffer a serious reaction; in other cases, simply cutting caffeine out of your diet may be enough to prevent any major reactions. This can require you to read labels carefully, as today's caffeine-obsessed society has led manufacturers to sneak this drug into a variety of foods and beverages you may not expect. 

For more information, talk to an allergist at a clinic like Premier Surgical Associates.


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