Eating Healthy Might Kill Me: Developing an Allergy to Portabella Mushrooms

Heather in the Emergency Room for Her New Mushroom AllergySpending the evening in the emergency room for a new food allergy definitely does not fit my definition of a fun Friday night. Unfortunately, my family and I ended up spending last Friday evening in our local ER because of a bad reaction that I experienced after eating a portabella mushroom.

Prior to Friday evening, I already had a long list of food allergies. My first allergy developed when I was seven years old. After eating a raw banana, my lips swelled and started tingling, at which time I discovered that I was allergic to raw bananas. (I could still eat cooked bananas because the protein to which I am allergic changes during the cooking process.) I also developed allergies to tree nuts (but not peanuts), melons, kiwi, raw carrots and celery, mango, papaya, and raw cherries.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered that I was not longer allergic to watermelon or raw banana. After her birth, I also discovered that I could eat raw carrots, almonds, and hazelnuts. Unfortunately, within the past couple of weeks, my watermelon and raw carrot allergies have returned.

Even more unfortunately, I also seem to have developed an allergy to portabella mushrooms. After eating my dinner, which consisted of a portabella mushroom, on Friday night, I suddenly doubled over which stomach pain. I managed to get to my bathroom and lay on the floor. My husband brought me a throw up bucket, and I proceeded to vomit up my dinner.

Worried about my sudden and severe symptoms, my husband called my parents, who rushed over to our house. My husband thought that I had appendicitis. I was worried that I had been poisoned by the ice cream bar that I had eaten from the neighborhood ice cream truck. I was also worried that my daughter was going to get sick because she had eaten a bite of my ice cream.

My dad immediately decided that I needed to get to the emergency room. He helped me outside where I threw up almost all of the rest of my dinner. As he raced me to the hospital, I threw up again. After the last round of vomiting, I started feeling a little better.

Once at the emergency room, I received an IV of saline as well as an anti-nausea medication, an antihistamine, and Pepcid. Because my daughter was absolutely fine, I started to suspect that I might have been having an allergic reaction. Of all the room that I ate that evening, the only different ingredient was the portabella mushroom. Mushroom allergies are rare but not unheard-of. With my long list of weird food allergies, a new mushroom allergy would be just my luck.

When my blood test came back, the doctor informed me that an elevated marker in my blood indicated that I had experienced an allergic reaction. To what exactly I am allergic is technically unknown, but, because the only unusual food that I ate that day was the portabella mushroom, my new food allergy is almost certainly to portabella mushrooms.

In addition to my other allergy triggers, I now plan to avoid portabella mushrooms. I must also be careful with other varieties of mushrooms in case my allergy broadens. As I jokingly said to my family, eating healthy might actually kill me. Maybe I should just stick to overly processed foods instead. McDonald’s diet, here I come.

Have you or a loved on ever experienced an allergic reaction to a food? How did you deal?

Image Credits

Heather in the Emergency Room for Her New Mushroom Allergy © 2013 Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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