Understanding Corn Allergy

People have various forms of food allergies to varying degrees. I know of people who are allergic to foods with gluten; thus we are seeing more and more products that state “gluten-free.” There are also people who have yeast allergy which prevents them from eating most bread products. Other popular allergens include peanuts, eggs, meat, milk, fish and soy. I have not included corn in the list because it is not yet very common in the US, although there are already many reported cases of this type of allergy. A general understanding about corn allergy can help you help others who you know might be suffering from it.

Corn Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms associated with corn allergy may just cause discomfort to some people, while for others, the symptoms may be more severe and to some extent may be life-threatening. They may appear within minutes or hours of intake or exposure to corn or products containing it.

Less serious symptoms:

  • Itchiness or a tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Eczema or hives
  • Dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness
  • Swelling around the mouth area
  • Nauseas, vomiting or other digestive problem

Severe symptoms:

  • Irregular pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock
  • Breathing difficulty

Food Products to Avoid

Generally, product labels would state if corn is present in the ingredients. Steer clear from foods that have corn, masa, hominy, or maize in the label. Sometimes, traces of corn may be present in certain products but the label does not directly say it. Other words in the label which may indicate that corn is in the ingredients include:

  • Dextrose
  • Dextrin
  • Caramel
  • Malt syrup
  • Fructose
  • Modified food starch

Corn is normally also present in the following food items:

  • Baked products
  • Sodas and other commercial beverages
  • Canned fruits
  • Candies
  • Cookies
  • Cereals
  • Flavored milk
  • Snack foods
  • Luncheon meats
  • Jam and jellies

Ways to Prevent Exposure to Corn and Corn Products

Many food products contain corn, making it difficult to avoid exposure to this allergen. Some very sensitive people even develop the symptoms by just touching these foods. However, there are simple ways on how to minimize exposure:

  • For children, pack their own lunch for school.
  • Consume more natural foods including fruits and vegetables.
  • When travelling, bring your own food as much as possible.
  • When dining out, check with the server the ingredients contained in the food you will be ordering.
  • Read the food label before buying or consuming the product. Be cautious about other words that may also signify the presence of corn in different forms.
  • Wear a medical bracelet that will tell others that you are allergic to corn. This is especially applicable if you already have suffered from a serious reaction in the past. This can help tell other people of your condition when you are under an allergic attack.

There is no permanent cure to food allergies such as corn allergy. But there are ways on how one can reduce the risk of suffering from allergic reactions. If you are suffering from any food allergies, it is best to talk with your doctor and discuss the best course of action to avoid allergens and alleviate any symptom.