KIWI: The ‘CULPRIT’

Recently, my father, is an ardent fruit lover, brought home half a dozen of Kiwi fruits. Nowadays, market is full of many foreign fruits and Kiwi or Chinese Gooseberry is one of them, costing arou...

Recently, my father, is an ardent fruit lover, brought home half a dozen of Kiwi fruits. Nowadays, market is full of many foreign fruits and Kiwi or Chinese Gooseberry is one of them, costing around Rs 25-30 per piece in the local markets. After dinner, it was the time to relish the novel fruit. As soon as I ate the delicious and nutritious fruit my alimentary canal started signs of discomfort as my mouth and throat developed rashes. Within minutes I developed abdominal cramps. Interestingly, other members of our family were perfectly alright. In fact, they were laughing at my plight.
Around midnight my abdominal pain intensified and I became a severe victim of vomiting and diarrhea. Seeing my pathetic condition my parents and sisters who were hitherto laughing at my plight became worried. Within minutes I was taken to the district hospital. My father woke up the doctor and I narrated my ordeal.  I informed the doctor about the Kiwi fruit, but he was least interested in it and instead inquired about the frequency of my vomiting and diarrhea attacks to know the level of dehydration. The doctor prescribed the routine symptomatic treatment for diarrhea and vomiting including an antibiotic, anti-diarrhea drug, painkiller, anti-vomiting drug and intravenous fluid therapy to check the dehydration. Though, the intensity of the cramps lessened and dehydration was checked, but, I couldn't sleep for even a fraction of a second despite the volley of medicines.
All the night I was wondering about the root cause of my problem and I came to know the reality only until morning when I read about Kiwi fruit on internet. My suspicion bore fruit and I came to know about its harmful effects. Kiwi fruit contains an allergen called 'actinidain' which causes allergy only in certain individuals and such a condition in medicine is described as idiosyncrasy. Idiosyncrasy is defined as an abnormal physical reaction in an individual to a food or drug. As per idiosyncrasy, some individuals would react differently or not at all to the chemicals present in various food items. Most commonly, this is caused by an enzymopathy (congenital or acquired) so that the triggering substance cannot be processed properly in the organism and causes symptoms by accumulating or blocking other substances to be processed.
There are hundreds of foodstuffs like the Kiwi fruit which cause problem only in few subjects by virtue of idiosyncrasy. A person must always know the food items which are specifically allergic or problematic to that person only and avoid them as prevention is always better than cure. The field of Medicine is so vast that it is very difficult for anybody to master it. Sometimes even competent doctors don't know about the toxic principles present in certain food items and the idiosyncrasies involved around them. Anyway, I am thankful to the candid doctor and the helpful nurse for taking pains for me on the horrible night, spoiled by the Kiwi fruit.
zubi744@rediffmail.com

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