Lemon Allergy Symptoms

by N. Akhtar

Are you allergic to lemons?

Are you allergic to lemons?

Question: How can I know if I am allergic to lemons?

Nancy’s Answer: Lemon allergies are uncommon, but like any citrus allergy, a lemon allergy can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. If you know you have an allergic reaction to any type of citrus fruit, there is a good chance you might have a reaction to lemons. A lemon allergy can develop at any point during one’s life and can also subside at any time.

Our immune system uses antibodies to fight off foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. A lemon allergy is caused by the release of IgE antibodies in the body. For some reason, the body identifies the lemon proteins as harmful invaders, thus causing a chain of chemical reactions and production of histamine.

Lemon Allergy Symptoms

According to the MayoClinic.com, lemon allergies have some of the same causes and symptoms as most food allergies. The following are some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to lemons or lemon juice:

  • Skin rashes, hives, eczema or intense itching are the most common lemon allergy symptoms

  • Canker sores appear in the mouth or at the corner of the lips

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or vomiting

  • Asthma-type reactions, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, along with nasal congestion

  • A severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock, which includes rapid heart rate, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and an inability to breathe

Diagnosing Lemon Allergy

A simple way to determine if you might be allergic to lemons it to touch a small amount of lemon peel or lemon pulp to your skin and see if you have any type of reaction, such as a rash or itching. This is obviously not a foolproof method, but if you are allergic, there is a good chance you will have some type of reaction.

If in doubt, an allergist can help determine if you do, in fact, have a lemon allergy and what might the cause. Common diagnostic tests may include a skin prick test or blood test.

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Jun 01, 2013
Allergy to lemons
by: Marybeth

I not only have had deadly allergic reaction to lemons i also add all citrus, tropical fruits and berries to my list in the food category--not to mention I am deadly allergic to all medication in the cillin... family. weird hu...

Jun 12, 2013
Lemon allergy
by: Anonymous

I have severe allergic reaction (within 20 minutes) to anything containing lemon juice, extract, oil etc. and have noticed that whilst grapefruit does not upset me, it tends, I believe, to worsen a psoriasis condition, and i suspect orange juice has an effect too.

For this reason i have to be so careful both in eating at home and particularly when dining out, it actually results in me being reluctant to eat out because whilst one can tell the waiter, the message is either not passed on, or the chef forgets and a pleasant social occasion is ruined, i am in pain often for hours, and this sometimes results in vomiting too, which strangely can alleviate the pain almost immediately.

Aug 02, 2013
Reaction to lemon juice in drinking water
by: Luann

Have been suffering with a itchy rash for 1 year. Have never been allergic to anything in my life. Went to a dermatologist. They took a skin sample and came back as Atopic Dermatitis - which is something I ingested.

After thinking of any changes in my diet, the only thing was adding Lemon Juice to my drinking water. It has been 3 days since stopping the lemon juice and the itch is gone. Who would have thought.

Aug 19, 2013
My severe lemon allergy reaction
by: KarenAnonymous

A few months ago I ate a cupcake with a lemon filling. Two days later my mouth was full of canker sores and very tender gums. It took months to subside.

Then about the time that was nearly better, I ate a blueberry pie that had a tiny bit of lemon in it and two days later my throat started to feel sore. It kept getting worse until I could not talk nor swallow. My throat was nearly closed off but my esophagus was not affected.

I went to emergency and they gave me a steroid, which helped clear it up pretty fast.

I still have a hoarse throat and it hurts to yawn and it has been two weeks.

When doctors looked in my mouth and then again in my throat they could see nothing that looked wrong.

It made me feel stupid, but yet I was suffering a lot. One doctor said I was having a severe allergic reaction to the lemon and to always have Benedryl with me.

I will be extra careful now but wish I knew why the allergic reaction took two days both time and why it takes so long to clear up. I'm puzzled, Karen

Nancy's response:

Wow, so sorry for your suffering, Karen! I have no idea why it would take a few days for symptoms to appear but I am sure it must have to do with how the citrus is metabolized in your body to produce the allergens.

Normally what I recommend to people with any type of allergies is to take a natural dietary supplement that contains Bromelain, Quercetin, and Vitamin C. This supplement is fairly effective for most people with seasonal allergies as well as some food allergies.

However, since Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme extracted from the flesh and stem of the pineapple plant, it may not be a good idea for you if there is any chance you are also allergic to pineapple. Otherwise, you may simply have to avoid all citrus.

Note: Protein-digesting enzymes are systemic enzymes that you take in between meals. They digest "foreign proteins" in the body, such as allergens, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Aug 19, 2013
7 year old son may have citrus allergy
by: Anonymous

I have a 7 year old son who seems to get really sick the next day after drinking lemonade or a lime aid, but if you drink anything like Kool Aid, that lemonade flavor, he's okay. He don't get sick.

I just been trying to narrow it down. This is like the third time he has gotten sick after drinking something with citrus...and its usually between 6 to 12 hour period before he starts getting sick.

And he will vomit all day long but never runs a fever... tomorrow I'm going to call his allergy doctor because he does have seasonal allergies and see maybe they could test him for food allergies but I was wanting to know can this be common if he is allergic to citrus.


It sounds like he does have a citrus allergy, but no way to know for sure without getting tested.

The reason he does not react to lemon flavored Kool Aid and such is because those flavorings are not citrus. They are artificial flavorings.

May 13, 2014
Lemon allergy symptoms
by: Anonymous

One week drank lemon water, cucumber and mint. Broke out with itchy neck and peeling skin face, neck and ears.

Aug 19, 2014
Lemon allergy antidote
by: Chelmsford

Would anybody have any info of an antidote to neutralize if lemon has been consumed in error?

I am a sufferer and on more occasions have ingested lemon and realized minutes later!

Sep 10, 2014
How I found out I was allergic to lemon
by: Anonymous

My mother was in the hospital with my brother after giving birth, and my sisters and I had stayed the few nights with my grandmother. It was during this stay that I realized my allergy.

My grandmother washed our whites in lemon bleach and needless to say I ended up with a severe case of itchy red hives in unmentionable places.

I tested my allergy theory with lemon dish soap and needless to say where the soap had touched my skin I had another unbearable itchy rash.

I have done my best to stay clear of anything with lemons. But sometimes it's hard if something says citrus but doesn't specify which type. Lemon being the only thing I'm allergic to.

Sep 16, 2014
This may help
by: Anonymous

I have had problems with allergies to apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and also some nuts but not citrus fruit.

What helped me was Olive Leaf Extract, preferably taken in the liquid form along with a daily garlic tablet.

It cleared the hives and I no longer need to take antihistamine tablets. As both problems are a food intolerance, it may well work for citrus fruit allergies as well.

Nancy's Comment:

Thank you for sharing this. And I agree about the olive leaf and garlic.

One might also try Nettles tea, extract or capsules. There are also liquid herbal extracts for allergies that are effective, especially those which include nettle. I prefer the brands Gaia, Native Remedies or Herb Pharm.

Another option are the Homeopathic allergy remedies by King Bio, Hylands or Boiron. I have used a few of these remedies myself and I know they are effective. They are one of the top sellers for natural allergy remedies at the health food store where I work.

An effective vitamin supplement for most allergies is one that contains Bromelain, Quercetin and Vitamin C all in one supplement. You can find this product in most vitamin shops or at Amazon.com. It is effective for most allergies. However, I cannot say for sure if it would work for a citrus allergy.

Sep 24, 2014
Coughing from Lemon? Allergy question
by: Barbara

I have a question as I'm trying to narrow down what I might have an allergy to. Meds, food, supplements in the past using lemon in water did not cause any reaction but lately I stay up all night with a very dry cough and wanting to know if anyone has had this experience or how likely it is from lemon?

Barbara Wagner

Oct 03, 2014
My lemon allergy symptoms
by: Anonymous

Whenever I'm around lemon scent, it feels like I can't breath. Yes, I mean the natural smell of them too. Anything lemony scented.

Also, if I come in contact with them, it's so weird. I feel so nauseated and my water count or hydration goes to 0. I have to be hooked up to a bunch of IVs and they have to hydrate my body fairly quickly. The amount I'm exposed to determines how fast I dehydrate.

Anyone else react like this? Or am I weird or whatever?

Oct 10, 2014
Lemon smelling products
by: Anonymous

Is it okay to use lemon smelling products, like washing up liquid, floor cleaner etc?


If you have a lemon or citrus allergy, I think it would really depend on what is put in the cleaning products to give it the lemon smell. If the product is made with the actual essential oil of lemons, then it could definitely trigger symptoms for someone with a citrus allergy. Usually cleaning products that use the actual oil of lemons is found mainly in health food stores.

If the fragrance is synthetic (man-made), which you will more likely find in commercial cleaning products, then it may not affect someone with a citrus allergy. However, people with citrus allergies often have a sensitivity to other fragrances also, regardless of whether they are synthetic or natural. So, the synthetic lemon fragrance may or may not cause allergy symptoms also.

Nov 06, 2014
Fresh Lemon Juice - throat problems
by: Brianna

I had an allergic reaction while drinking a cocktail several months ago, and then again last night, where my throat closes up and gets really tight and uncomfortable, almost like I'm choking.

I looked up the ingredients and the one thing both drinks had in common was fresh lemon juice.

I drink lemonade and eat chicken that's been prepared with lemon all the time and have never had a problem.

I also touch lemons and have never gotten a rash. Is it possible that fresh lemon juice is the culprit?

WBH Response:

Yes, it is possible that the fresh lemon juice is the culprit because it has the most acidity.

Most lemonade is made from processed lemon juice so it is not the same as fresh lemon juice. In fact, some processed lemonade does not come from lemons at all. They use artificially made flavors in laboratories.

That may be the reason that store-bought lemonade does not bother you. If you drink fresh-squeezed lemonade, you would most likely have the same symptoms with your throat.

What is a little surprising to me is that touching fresh lemon juice does not cause you any type of skin reaction.

Since the chicken prepared with lemon is cooked, the heat will also destroy many of the enzymes in the lemon juice and most likely change the citric acid of the lemon into something else as it absorbs into the meat, which is probably why it does not bother you.

However, I have heard of commercial lemonade and even the slightest bit of lemon juice used in cooking causing allergic symptoms in other people. So, these comments do not apply to everyone. I am just commenting on your situation with a humble hypothesis . . .

Dec 10, 2014
Lemon water and dry lips and mouth
by: Anonymous

In February 2014 I started drinking lemon water every morning. My lips got really dry and painful and flaky. The skin around my mouth, and small patches all over my face, were super dry - like an eczema breakout. I thought it was a new face cream I was using, so I stopped using it and stopped the lemon water too, just in case. A month or so went by before my skin was normal again.

In December 2014 I started up with the lemon water again. The painful, chapped and flaky lips are back, and I can see the skin near the mouth getting the patches.

So - now I know it wasn't the face cream, but in fact, it was the lemon water.

Does anyone else have these problems? I read all the time about how lemon water is like a magic health cure-all - so i'll be upset if I can't drink it anymore. Today i drank my lemon water (1/2 lemon pressed into a glass of room temp. water) with a straw, but I can still feel my lips acting up.

Dec 10, 2014
Painful itching and burning on my tongue
by: Lemon Demon

I believe I may have a lemon allergy. When I was a baby I was supposedly allergic to grapefruit.

Over the past 28 years I have had a painful itching and burning on my tongue. Sometimes there are small white bumps/dots where the pain is intensified. After quitting some medication this year the worst of the symptoms went away (by worst I mean bloody mouth that filled the sink, pain so intense that even drinking water was unbearable).

Recently this tongue pain has come back and I believe it may be from citrus, like lemon and pineapple. Since I eat a lot of salsa I figured it may be due to the kind containing pineapple, so I have quit that.

My tongue still hurts and I realized I have been using a natural/organic lip balm containing lemon. I have also learned that most citric acid has something to do with mold, while the other has to do with citrus foods.

I am wondering if anybody else has these symptoms and if there is a way to find out if it's citric acid or citrus fruit that is hurting my mouth (and possibly skin - since there's citric acid in my face wash).

Feeling better would cause great joy in my life because it has been and continues to be very difficult for me to function physically and mentally with this pain. Thanks for your help.

Dec 25, 2014
Rash on face from lemon juice?
by: Anonymous

I've been drinking lemon juice for the last few weeks but lately, my skin has turned to reddish colour and small pimples are popping on my face.

I did experience that when I first started drinking lemon juice but it went off and it came back now after I started to drink pure lemon juice in the morning. Initially, I took my lemon juice with other fruit juices. Am I actually allergic to pure lemon juice?

Mar 23, 2015
Lemon water benefits without the allergy symptoms
by: Anonymous

I was suffering from acidity and heartburn since 15 years, taking antacids almost daily. Then last month i came across this news about lukewarm lemon water in morning and i started that.

It was a miracle that i did not need to take any antacid for one month complete and i felt almost cured. But i also developed some cracks near the lip-corners and its painful too. And for a week now i have skin allergy on my eye lids and it is getting worse, swelling and reddish. My right eye almost difficult to open. And it is embarrassing too to move like this in office.

Yes, i'm already suffering from skin allergies for a long time (on my hands frequently) but it was under control since some time now particularly after i took homeopathy medicines about 10 years back. Then it was small ointments sometimes like Betnovate that it was under control.

But after reading all the comments in this site (waterbenefitshealth.com), i feel its the lemon water in morning now that is creating the big allergy episode. Though i have yet to validate it.

Now how to have the lemon water benefits without the allergy part...???


Without being tested for allergies, it is hard to say whether the lemon juice is causing your skin issues or not.

Our skin is the largest organ of elimination of toxins. Thus, it is also possible that drinking lemon water is causing your body to detoxify too fast--thus the skin eruptions.

If this is the case, it might help to simply drink more plain water throughout the day until the skin issues clear up.

In any case, it would be wise to stop drinking the lemon water (if you haven't already done so), and see if your skin clears up.

When the skin clears up, you could possibly try drinking a higher dilution of lemon juice in water every other day and see if that helps.

A little lemon juice goes a long way. Even 1/8 to 1/4 lemon juice in 8 to 12 ounces of water once a day or once every other day is beneficial and may be just enough acid to also help with the acid reflux.

Since your heartburn decreased when taking the lemon water, that tells me that the main cause was probably insufficient stomach acid.

If you decide not to drink any more lemon water, you could increase the acid in your stomach in other ways, such as taking a high-quality aloe vera juice or apple cider vinegar before meals.

I think the best brand of aloe vera is Aloe Life. It is much more concentrated than most of the others so you have to take less of it to get results.

You can review this Aloe on Amazon.com if interested.

Another good quality aloe vera brand is Lily of the Desert.

The brand of apple cider vinegar I recommend is Bragg's unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV). It must be unfiltered with the "mother" in it.

Both the aloe vera and ACV are bitter. If you don't like the bitter taste, you can get flavored aloe vera or just add it to a small amount of juice. The same with the ACV.

Like lemon water, both aloe vera and ACV will provide more acid to the stomach and also be nourishing and healing.

Nancy Hearn

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