Allergy to safflower oil

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Safflower oil is typically utilized as a natural laxative as well as for cooking purposes. Despite its uses, safflower oil is also known to trigger an allergic reaction that manifests in the form of hives, rhinitis and asthma. Most of the symptoms develop within a few minutes or up to hours after ingestion of safflower oil. Once an individual develops detrimental reactions after using safflower oil, stop using the oil and consult a doctor for further assessment.

Close look on safflower oil

When an allergic reaction to safflower oil occurs, it is usually caused by overreaction to the substance by the immune system. The immune system perceives the oil as a threat to the body and initiates an attack to ward it off. The immune system defends itself by producing antibodies. The antibodies signal the mast cells to produce histamine which is a hormone responsible for causing inflammation in the soft tissues in the body. Large amounts of histamine are the main cause of the allergy-related symptoms.

Despite its uses, safflower oil is also known to trigger an allergic reaction that manifests in the form of hives, rhinitis and asthma.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptom of an allergy to safflower oil is rhinitis which causes sneezing, nasal congestion, eye irritation, runny nose, sinus headaches and postnasal drip.

In some individuals, allergic skin rashes such as eczema or hives can manifest as a result of a reaction to the oil. Both hives and eczema cause inflammation in the skin that is extremely itchy and elevated in appearance. If the individual scratches the skin, it leaves the area open which makes it prone to secondary skin infections.

Asthmatic symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing might also develop as a reaction to safflower oil.

Allergy testing

The best way to confirm and diagnose an allergy to safflower oil is to undergo allergy testing. The two commonly used tests to diagnose an allergy include skin tests and blood tests.

During a skin test, a small amount of safflower oil is applied under the skin to check if it causes an adverse reaction such as inflammation. When a blood test is carried out, the individual is exposed to the allergen and draws blood to test it for high levels of IgE antibodies.


An effective form of treatment for an allergy to safflower oil is to identify it and avoid using or consuming the substance. All of the signs and symptoms of safflower oil allergy can be managed with antihistamines. Take note that rhinitis can be treated with decongestants to relieve the nasal congestion. As for the skin rashes, they are treated with corticosteroid creams or hydrocortisone to reduce the swelling and itchiness.

Once an individual experiences hives, shortness of breath and dizziness after consumption of safflower oil, he/she might be experiencing an anaphylactic shock which is described as a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

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