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Chinese restaurant syndrome

  • Alternative Names

    Hot dog headache; Glutamate-induced asthma; MSG (monosodium glutamate) syndrome

    • Chest pain
    • Flushing
    • Headache
    • Numbness or burning in or around the mouth
    • Sense of facial pressure or swelling
    • Sweating

    Signs and tests

    Chinese restaurant syndrome is usually diagnosed based on the symptoms. The health care provider may ask the following questions as well:

    • Have you eaten Chinese food within the past 2 hours?
    • Have you eaten any other food that may contain monosodium glutamate within the past 2 hours?

    The following signs may also be used to aid in diagnosis:

    • Abnormal heart rhythm observed on an electrocardiogram
    • Decreased air entry into the lungs
    • Rapid heart rate