Can You Be Allergic To Red Onion And Not White?

Yes, it is possible to be allergic to red onion and not white. Allergic reactions to specific foods are not uncommon, and onions are no exception.

Red and white onions belong to the same allium family and share similar properties, but some people may react differently to them. An onion allergy can cause an array of symptoms, including itching, hives, nausea, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect you might be allergic to onions, it is essential to seek medical attention to determine the severity of your reaction and establish a proper treatment plan.

In this article, we will explore onion allergies, their symptoms, causes, and potential treatment options to help you stay informed and healthy.

The Science Behind Onion Allergies

Onion allergies are a type 1 allergic reaction, which means that they are common and can be serious. Some people may be allergic to red onions but not white. Specific allergens found in onions can trigger these reactions. These allergens affect the immune system and can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

The science behind onion allergies is complex, with different types of allergens and reactions. If you suspect you have an onion allergy, it is important to seek medical attention and get an accurate diagnosis. Knowing more about the science behind these allergies can help you understand your symptoms and manage them effectively.

Differences Between Red And White Onions

Red and white onions, although used similarly in cooking, have significant biochemical differences that can lead to varying allergic reactions. Allergens, such as proteins and enzymes, are present in both red and white onions, but in varying amounts and types.

Red onions have higher levels of sulphur compounds and anthocyanins, which can increase the severity and prevalence of allergies. Additionally, red onions contain a unique allergen called lachancea thermotolerans, not present in white onions, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Although allergies to red onions are less common than to other foods, it is possible to be allergic to red onion without being allergic to white onion due to these biochemical differences. Therefore, if you are unsure about which type of onion to include in your recipe, consult with your physician or an allergy specialist.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Red onion allergies are rare compared to other food allergies. Diagnosis can be made through skin and blood tests, although an elimination diet may also be used. Treatment options include antihistamines and epinephrine for severe reactions, but prevention is the best course of action.

Avoiding onions and reading food labels carefully is important. While red onions may cause allergies in some individuals, white onions may not. Allergy sufferers should be cautious and speak to their doctor if they have concerns. Treatment options and preventive strategies can help reduce the risk of a severe reaction.

Overall, allergies to onions are not common, but those who do suffer from these allergies should take steps to minimize their exposure.

Living With An Onion Allergy

Living with an onion allergy can be challenging, especially if you are allergic to red onion but not white. To avoid onions in food and other products, check ingredients carefully and ask questions when eating out. If you do experience symptoms, such as hives or difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately.

Managing symptoms may involve antihistamines or epinephrine. It’s also important to inform friends, family, and coworkers of your allergy, and to carry an emergency kit at all times. The impact of an onion allergy on daily life can be significant, potentially limiting what you can eat and where you can go.

However, with proper precautions and management, it’s possible to live a full and healthy life with an onion allergy.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can You Be Allergic To Red Onion And Not White

Why Am I Allergic To Red Onions And Not White Onions?

Red onions contain higher amounts of quercetin, a flavonoid that can trigger an allergic reaction. White onions have lower levels, making them less likely to cause an allergic response. However, individual reactions vary. Always consult a doctor if you suspect an allergy.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Red Onion Allergy?

Symptoms of a red onion allergy include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, anaphylaxis may occur. If you suspect you have an onion allergy, it is important to avoid consuming them and seek medical attention if you experience symptoms.

Can Cooking Red Onions Prevent An Allergic Reaction?

Cooking may reduce the allergenicity of red onions, making them less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. However, this is not a guarantee and varies between individuals. Consult a doctor if you suspect an onion allergy. Avoidance is the best approach for those with a known allergy.


As we have learned, while red onions tend to have more phytonutrients than their white counterparts, they also have a higher level of quercetin, which can trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals. However, it is important to note that being allergic to red onions does not necessarily mean you are allergic to white onions as well.

Each person’s body and immune system react differently to certain foods, so it’s important to pay attention to your own body’s reactions and seek medical advice if needed. It’s also important to keep in mind that onion allergies are relatively rare, and the symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions.

If you suspect you may have an onion allergy, it is recommended to consult with a medical professional to properly diagnose the issue and determine the best course of treatment. In any case, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy eating habits, and maintain a balanced, varied diet to ensure optimal health.

Leave a Comment