Be Safe! Prevent Allergic Reactions

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Any new food, plant or flower could cause allergic reactions when eaten, which can become life-threatening.

To help prevent a serious allergic reaction, here are some steps to take when considering any plant that you have never eaten before. Only go to the next step if your answer is "no".

Severe reactions such as shortness of breath, face swelling, or throat swelling are signs of an extreme allergic reaction -- call for emergency medical attention immediately.

  • Touch the plant or flower part that you intend to eat with the back of your hand. Does it irritate your skin or cause you to itch? If the answer is yes, STOP. You may be allergic to it. Do not eat this.
  • Break off a small piece of the plant or flower part that you intend to eat and hold it next to your inner wrist for 15 minutes. You can do this as you walk around the nursery. Does the piece of plant cause redness, irritation, swelling, rash, or itching? If the answer is yes, STOP. You may be having an allergic reaction to it. Do not eat this.
  • Place a piece of the plant or flower part that you're testing in your mouth and hold it there for 15 minutes. Was there any numbness, tingling, swelling, or burning in your mouth?If the answer is yes, spit it out. You may be allergic to it. Do not eat this.
  • Prepare a small amount of the plant (1-3 spoonfuls) as recommended for that plant, and eat it. Wait 24 hours. Did you have any symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, or diarrhea, or feel unwell in any way after eating this plant? If the answer is yes, stop eating this plant. You may be having an allergic reaction to it. If you have already bought the plant, either return it to the store or exchange it with a friend who isn't allergic to it.

If all the answers have been "no", congratulations! You have found a new edible plant that you are not allergic to.

Don't forget to do this allergic reaction testing on family members, especially children and the elderly, if they have never eaten this plant before.

Remember that food allergic reactions can develop over time, even in foods you have eaten before, so if you have any of these symptoms after eating a certain food, consider reducing your exposure to that food.




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