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Making sick children better.

Dr John Chapman FRCPCH

Consultant Paediatrician (NHS & Private)

 General Paediatrics, Asthma and Allergy

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Potato Allergy

Have you eaten potato today?

I certainly have as I am a coeliac so much of my food has potato starch as a substitute… and I like chips.

Potato allergy is under-recognised … perhaps because we eat it all the time and perhaps because the allergy is usually stronger to raw potato than to cooked.

Potato allergy seems to be relatively common in smaller children. We often see positive prick-prick testing to raw potato in children with eczema for example but it is unusual for the patient to have a history of potato reaction. This form of potato allergy settles very quickly and tends to disappear by the age of 4 years.

Allergy to cooked potato can be a risk factor in developing Grass Pollen Hay Fever later on in life. Teenagers can also be potato allergic. Some of them will realise that they are potato allergic when their parents make them peel the potatoes for dinner – peeling sends of a fine spray of raw potato juice which can cause dermatitis/worsening of eczema or eye and runny nose symptoms (rhinoconjunctivitis).

Another problem for teenagers is Potato allergy as part of a Pollen–Fruit Oral Allergy Syndrome to grass or birch tree pollen. This can cause mouth symptoms, nausea or dislike of lightly cooked potato (in my experience boiled new potatoes).

And finally remember, potato is in the same plant family as tomato and aubergine so you can become allergic to all three and you are probably more likely to eat raw tomato than raw potato or aubergine! Chips with everything … perhaps not.

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