Allergies from Wheat Germ and Warnings

Wheat contains gluten. Many people are allergic to gluten. Such people have to avoid wheat and wheat products all through their life. Wheat germ and wheat germ oil should be avoided by them.

The immune system uses antibodies to fight off harmful substances, such as viruses and bacteria. During a wheat germ allergic reaction, the immune system mistakes the proteins found in the germs as harmful, and attacks them. The release of IgE antibodies leads to the production of histamine in different parts of the body. Histamine is the hormone that causes tissue irritation and inflammation, commonly in the sinuses, eyes, throat or lungs.

Store wheat germ oil in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life. Wheat germ oil is susceptible to quick degradation if you expose it to extreme light variations and to extreme temperature fluctuations. Consult a qualified health care professional before using wheat germ oil in aromatherapy practice.

Do not use wheat germ oil when cooking. Wheat germ reacts very poorly to heat and high temperatures and becomes unhealthy for eating. Even when oil is prepared from wheat germ or when it is toasted, drum dyers and cold pressed method is used.

Typically the allergy is limited to the seed storage proteins of wheat, some reactions are restricted to wheat proteins, while others can react across many varieties of seeds and other plant tissues.

Effects

The effects of a wheat germ allergy are skin reactions, sinus complications, digestive trouble and anaphylactic shock, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Common skin reactions include hives and eczema flare-ups. Hives are spontaneous welts that appear and disappear for no reason. They are elevated and itchy. Eczema appears in patches, typically behind the arms and legs and can become inflamed and infected if scratched. Other effects are a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea.

Treatment

A wheat germ allergy may produce mild to severe reactions. In mild cases, over-the-counter antihistamines may be an effective way to treat the symptoms, according to MayoClinic.com. Some antihistamines may cause severe drowsiness and should be taken with caution. If hives or eczema are part of the reaction, use topical antihistamines or hydrocortisone to alleviate the itching and inflammation.