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Pumpkin 1

Pumpkin Allergy

Pumpkin-1

Pumpkin lattes, pies, shakes, muffins, bars, bread, cheesecake, cookies, pancakes, flam, pudding, squares, soups, and yes even, pumpkin chili and lasagna.  Is there anything you can’t make with pumpkin?

Is pumpkin dangerous to some individuals?

Allergic reactions to pumpkin “flesh” are rare with only 3 cases described in the medical literature.  One was a patient who had anaphylaxis after eating pumpkin soup.  The second patient was an 18 year-old who developed itching, shortness of breath and throat tightness after eating pumpkin cake at school he made for home economics class.  He required epinephrine and observation in the hospital.  His blood allergy test to pumpkin was positive.  The third patient was an 8 year-old boy who developed sneezing, eyelid itching and puffiness and chest tightness while carving a pumpkin.  He had not ingested pumpkin, but rubbed his eyes after putting his hand in the pumpkin. His skin test was positive to pumpkin.  To read this article, go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20306822

Pumpkin seed allergy is also rare with only 4 case reports, two of which I describe here.  An 11 year-old child had anaphylaxis 15 minutes after consuming a small number of pumpkin seeds.  Although his skin test was negative, he developed hives, swelling and asthma after eating 10 grams of pumpkin seeds, confirming the diagnosis. This article from Switzerland also includes 2 children with sunflower seed allergy. Go to:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19796220   A 33 year-old-man in Spain developed recurrent episodes of facial swelling/redness and difficulty breathing after eating toasted pumpkin seeds.  His allergy skin test to pumpkin was positive.  He was offered a specific challenge test to eat pumpkin seeds, yet he declined. (Smart patient!)  For the complete article, go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19836872

Pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima) are in the Cucurbitaceae family sometimes called the gourd family.  This also includes squash, zucchini and some gourds.  Pumpkin seeds are usually eaten after they are toasted as appetizers, used on salads, or in breads.  Pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of protein and the most common ones to trigger allergies are profilins and lipid transfer proteins (LTP).   Most of the patients who had pumpkin allergy also had other allergies including allergic rhinitis to pollen, asthma or other food allergies including banana, strawberry, peach or nectarine.

At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we specialize in food allergy diagnosis and treatment.  Enjoy that pumpkin treat, but if it doesn’t agree with you, call us.  Many food reactions are not reported to their doctor or their doctor tells them it’s “not possible.”  Perhaps pumpkin allergy is underdiagnosed.  If you have experienced an allergic-type reaction, to pumpkin or another food, let us know.  We can help.

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.  

  1. Alicia CameronAlicia Cameron11-26-2014

    My mom and I both have an allergic reaction to at least raw pumpkin touching our skin

  2. I am deathly allergic to pepitas / pumpkin seeds however I can eat pumpkin purée, pie things of that sort. Why is it that the seed is so potent that it has put me into anaphylaxis three times now? One without my knowledge what I was allergic to second time didn’t know that the Ahi tuna was crusted with it and the third time the server told me it was a sunflower seed in my salad. I carry two epi pens at all times. Thank you for your reply.

  3. JessieJessie10-17-2015

    I suspect that pumpkins are the cause of my 8 yr old son’s rashes and hives. We have a doctors appt. In a couple of days. Then we will know for sure.

  4. Jenna LayneJenna Layne10-29-2015

    I learned I have a pumpkin allergy as of last night (carving pumpkins). Hands and arms started to swell, eyes got itchy, redness around eyes, my eyes felt like sand paper and at night I couldn’t stop coughing. All over touching the pulp!!

  5. Robin HuftonRobin Hufton11-23-2016

    I cut a small pumpkin up to roast this afternoon and about an hour later my arm started burning, as if I scraped it
    Later, I noticedon’t that I had developed a pretty serious rash on the part that came in contact with the pumpkin. This has never happened before. So, it much be more cases out there.

  6. AbcAbc11-24-2016

    I have pumpkin allergy, and all in the squash family, both summer and hard types. The response is a strong rash on my scaple and big time stomach issues. I have tested it several times. Plus it started with the summer types and later appeared with the hard squashes.

  7. Catherine harmanCatherine harman12-21-2016

    I am allergic to pumpkin seeds. I used to eat them freely as snacks and had no problem til one day I had some that I thought tasted a bit ‘off’. They were well within the use by date but I threw them out anyway. The next lot I had was the same so I gave them to my daughter, she and her children had no problem at all. The next time I tried some, from yet another new batch, within 30 – 40 minutes I was vomiting violently. Since then I’ve had a few accidental contacts with the seeds and always vomited violently, no stomach cramps in between the vomits but about 6-8 vomits over a two to three hour period. I avoid squashes in all forms now, and even sunflower seeds cos I have a feeling that it’s the seed husk that causes the reaction (that’s the vomiting taste always) and it is such a violent reaction. I do not have any other food allergies.

  8. Kirsten FyfeKirsten Fyfe05-10-2017

    Not sure if this is an allergic reaction, as I don’t have any other allergies, but having had pumpkin soup for lunch, about two hours later, a swollen tongue developed, but didn’t get any worse and no need for a trip to the hospital, a bit scary though, and I feel empathy for all the allergic reactions of people with serious allergies.

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