4 April 2003
US doctors have reported the case of a 38-year-old man who developed acute anaphylaxis (a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction) to topically applied Australian tea tree oil.
They said this was the first time tea tree oil had been associated with immediate systemic hypersensitivity (anaphylaxis) (Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 2003; 24: 73-75).
The man developed flushing, itch, throat constriction and light-headedness immediately after applying tea tree oil.
He had a positive (wheal-and-flare) reaction on intradermal skin testing with tea tree oil, but no specific IgG (immunoglobulin G) or IgE (immunoglobulin E) was detected.
(IgG is a protein present in the tissues that helps the body fight disease but which can also be involved in allergic reactions. IgE is a protein present in the body that is involved in immediate-type allergic reactions, i.e. those usually associated with anaphylaxis.)
Last Reviewed: 06 April 2003