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Chinese restaurant syndrome

  • Alternative Names

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


    Treatment depends on the symptoms. Most, such as headache or flushing, need no treatment.

    Life-threatening symptoms require immediate medical attention. They may be similar to any other severe allergic reaction and include:

    • Chest pain
    • Heart palpitations
    • Shortness of breath
    • Swelling of the throat

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Most people recover from mild cases of Chinese restaurant syndrome without treatment and with no lasting problems.

    People who have experienced life-threatening reactions need to be extremely cautious about what they eat and should always carry medication prescribed by their doctor for emergency treatment.


    Calling your health care provider

    If you experience any symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, or swelling of the lips or throat, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.