Growing up in West Texas where Tex-Mex culture is a strong influence, especially in the cuisine,
I am very accustomed to eating hot peppers and have done so for much of my life,
with no avderse effects. However, I was recently introduced to a variety which I had heard about
(but until then, had not eaten) and with undesireable consequences.
I would soon learn the hard way that I was allergic to Habanero Peppers.
Discovering a Pepper Allergy
Considered by many to be the hottest pepper in the world, the Habanero is said to be 60 times hotter than its more-popular cousin, the Jalapeno, and 10 times hotter than Cayenne.
Its propper name is Habanera, dervied from "Havana", Late 19th century Spanish.
It is originally from Cuba but is now widely grown in the US
and loved by pepper enthusiasts the world over.
My Habanero
Love at first bite...
That is what I felt the first time I tasted salsa made with the Habanero pepper.
It had a wonderful flavor like no other pepper I had ever eaten before and though it did have a strong afterburn, it really wasn't as hot as I had imagined it would be.
But now that I am aware of my allergy to it, it has become my "forbidden fruit" of sorts.
My love affair with the Habanero was short-lived, as I was only able to enjoy its wonderful flavor for two days. Upon waking on the third day after discovering the delicious chili variety, the ugly allergy made its presence known in a most unpleasant and very painful way. Though mild symptoms were present before then, they were quickly dismissed as the usual after-effects of eating certain pepper varieties. This morning's symptoms made it perfectly clear that something was definitely not right, yet it took several hours before the correct diagnosis was made.
I awoke that morning to a severe burning sensation in my eyes which were tearing, highly sensitive to light and almost impossible to keep open. This was accompanied by blurred vision, moderate throat irritation and a headache and was soon followed by swelling of the eyes.
Not yet sure what was wrong, I quickly went for the Visine, which was a terrible mistake for it only served to intensify the pain. The only way I know to describe the pain is that is feels like having pepper juice in one's eyes, which most avid pepper eaters have done at one time or another.
I knew this could not be the problem though, because it had been almost 24 hours prior that I had eaten the Habanero salsa and my hands had been washed several times since.
After seeking medical advice, it was determind that what I was experiencing was an allergic reaction to the Habanero pepper. With a dose of antihistamine (Benadryl) to counteract the allergen and acetaminophin (Tylenol) to alleviate the pain, the symptoms began to diminish and were all but gone by mid-afternoon. The only residual effects were a mild sore throat and headache and the knowledge that I could never again enjoy the wonderful taste of my newfound friend, the Habanero. No way was I going to chance going through that again!
Since this experience, I have searched for any information regarding pepper allergies.
What information I did find on food allergies only dealt with the more common types
such as milk, eggs, wheat and others, nothing on peppers.
My goal here is not to turn people away from the Habanero pepper.
It is instead to inform people of pepper allergies and provide them with helpful information as well as the knowledge that they are not the only people who suffer from this condition.
As of yet, I have not heard of anyone else who has a pepper allergy.
If you have information, advice or a similar story to share,
e-mail me at
[email protected] and
I will post it within this site, giving you the propper credit of course.
Also, please feel free to sign the guestbook and share your comments about this site
or the Habanero pepper itself.
[email protected]
Food Allergies
and Sensitivities
Growing Habaneros and Other Hot Peppers
Other Facts About the Habanero
and Other Chili Pepper Varieties
Habaneros can be used as a repellant against various types of pests.

Humans are the only animals who eat Habanero peppers.

Cayenne, Tabasco, Habanero and certain other chili peppers are considered to be
poisonous plants, along with Oleander, Poison Oak, Ivy and Sumac.

Chilis can intensify the allergic reaction of certain other food allergens.
This site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.
Any information listed here is for support only
and should not be used in place of competent medical care.
Please consult a qualified physician if you believe you have a food allergy.
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