Allergies are normal and yes, there are tons of them. Some people are unfortunate because they have allergies in food that everyone loves; seafood, spicy food, you name it! But have you ever heard of Oral Allergy Syndrome? Yes – you heard it right. The allergies manifest from your mouth and that’s about it.
To illustrate, the immune system recognizes the pollens from fruits and raw vegetables and reacts to it. Thus, giving an allergic response. Also referred to as pollen-food syndrome, this reaction is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables, or some tree nuts.
What triggers this allergy?
Although not everyone with this allergy experiences the symptoms below, they are associate with these food:
- Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomato
- Ragweed pollen: banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini
- Birch pollen: apple, almond, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, plum
So what are the symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome?
Symptoms would usually be relative to the normal itch. A person with this could experience:
- Itchy mouth/throat
- Swelling mouth/throat/lips
- Itchy tongue
- Swelling tongue
There are reports that say they also experience itchy ears. The symptoms are most often found in one area and do not progress elsewhere; they do not go beyond the mouth/face area.
According to a 2015 study, although cases of Oral Allergy Syndrome is currently scarce, “there is no doubt that the increase in pollen allergies is going to be followed by an increase in the so-called pollen-related food allergies.”
What does this mean, then? Simply, it means that the reaction will extend to other fruits like avocados, kiwis, etc.
Take note that not all fruits and vegetables can cause this reaction; see the list here.
But, people with OAS should not worry. To begin with, you are not allergic to the food itself. You are allergic to the pollens of the plants, explains Dr. Carah Santos.
Secondly, treatment is not usually necessary as the reaction won’t progress violently. Lastly, there are ways of reducing your chance of experiencing this “cross-reaction” to the pollen on your goods.
If you’re looking for workarounds on OAS, try these tips by NJH.
- As much as possible, avoid raw food that cross-react with your pollen allergies – see the list above
- Take oral antihistamine medication to relieve symptoms
- Bake or cook food to degrade the protein and eliminate the cross-reaction; they die from heat
- Eat canned fruits or vegetables during your pollen season
- Peel the food; the protein is mostly concentrated in the skin
If you experience this, then you are positive of this allergy. But, do not be sad. You don’t have to quit on these fruits and veggies – why? Because again, you are not allergic to the food itself – you’re allergic to the plant pollens. Wash them up properly and k**l what’s causing the allergies by cooking and enjoy eating!