Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hey Doc- Potatoes Give Me A Rash

Today had an interesting patient....

Every time she peels potatoes she gets a rash.  Her skin blisters and gets very itchy, but she has no problem eating cooked potato. Huh?? How can this be? Interestingly since she was young, she "didn't like" tomatoes and never eats them. But wait there's more...she also gets blisters with latex condoms and gloves.  She never thought to tell anyone that latex products gave her a rash.

How is this related you ask?

Potatoes, tomatoes,and latex share a common allergic protein to PATATIN. 

While anyone can develop latex allergy, it's more common in health care workers and children who've been hospitalized multiple times.

She was able to eat avocado, banana, chestnut, kiwi fruit, & carrot other foods that commonly cross react with latex via a different protein called chitanase. 
Now that your curiosity is peaked, I know you'll want to know, why can't she touch raw potato but is able to eat it without a problem?
  • The allergic protein in potato (patatin) is changed by the cooking process and renders itself not allergenic.  Pretty cool!

What's the treatment for such a reaction?
  • Avoidance, avoidance, avoidance of raw potato and she can eat all the spuds she wants, within reason of course! 
  • She'll still continue to have problems with latex products and will have to avoid these in the future.
Stay tuned for more!

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