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MSG means Monosodium Glutamate. It is used in food to increase the flavor of many cuisines. It is normally used in Chinese foodstuff, soup, processed meat and canned vegetable. When a person consumes food containing MSG and experiences allergic reactions then this condition is known as MSG allergy. A person who is allergic to MSG experiences digestive problems such as diarrhea, nauseated feeling. It is a serious allergy and should be treated soon.

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Symptoms of MSG Allergy

Most of them experience symptoms immediately after consuming food that has MSG. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Feeling nauseated
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rashes on skin
  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy feeling
  • Swelling of throat, nose and tongue
  • Gas
  • Regular headache
  • Cramps and pain in abdomen
  • Anaphylaxis: It is fatal.

Anaphylaxis may also show other symptoms including the above mentioned symptoms. They are as follows:

  • Pain in chest or tightness
  • Increase in heartbeat
  • Tightness or swelling of the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Severe difficulty in breathing

MSG Allergy Test

If minor symptoms such as rashes or headache are seen then the allergic reactions usually subside. But if anyone experiences chest pain or difficulty in pain then it should be treated immediately. The medical professional first check the symptoms, see the medical records and then prescribe treatment. If it is serious then special allergy test and blood test are also conducted to confirm the reactions. An MSG allergic person should avoid consuming food containing MSG, especially Chinese food. The person should avoid eating at Chinese restaurants. Also before buying canned meat or vegetable one should read the labels to see whether it has MSG or not.

The Food and Administration (FDA) provides for the inclusion of flavor enhancer for various processed foods, which can be cleverly guided under various names. So look out for the word ‘hydrolyzed’ on the label which states a form of MSG being present. Another example of MSG is ‘textured vegetable protein’ on the label.

To find out if the allergy was caused by MSG in food, make a note of all the food products you consumed in  the last 24 hours before the symptoms appeared. You can also do this under the guidance of a doctor, ingest MSG foods in the doctor’s clinic and get the symptoms monitored in the next 24 hours.

Treatment for MSG Allergy

Some medicines and treatment are as follows:

  • Antihistamines: It gives relief from sneezing, itching and runny nose. It is either given oral or injected.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroid drugs reduce swelling and have to be used till swelling is treated completely. In the beginning it is given as oral and then corticosteroid cream or ointments are also recommended to cure the skin rashes.
  • An anaphylactic patient is first given epinephrine to get immediate relief. It helps to clear the nasal passage and restore normal breathing.  Therefore a person already suffering from serious MSG allergy should carry epinephrine (adrenaline) dose in case of emergency after consulting the medical experts. It can be taken in two ways, one is it can be injected in case of severe allergic reactions or epinephrine inhalers for asthma patient or for breathing problem. Still if the conditions worsen and patient is unable to breathe then oxygen tube or face mask is given. Some who have serious breathing problem are also kept under ventilation for a period of time. Saline liquids are also given through intravenous to increase the blood pressure.

There are no drugs for prevention of MSG allergy. Thus it is better to avoid food containing MSG to keep away from allergic reactions.

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