If you suffer from seasonal allergies, your mouth or throat may become itchy after eating certain raw fruits, vegetables or other plant-based foods. This reaction occurs because the proteins found in these plant-based foods are very similar to those found in pollen. This confuses the immune system and can cause a cross-reaction resulting in oral allergy syndrome. This is a form of contact allergic reaction causing itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue and throat usually immediately after eating the culprit food. It is generally considered a mild form of food allergy. Rarely, this can cause severe throat swelling leading to difficulty swallowing, breathing or progressing into anaphylaxis. Most of the allergens are acid- and heat-labile, whatever food is swallowed is typically rapidly degraded by digestive enzymes and gastric acid. Most patients can tolerate the cooked or processed versions of the foods triggering symptoms. Managing your symptoms:avoid eating these raw foods, especially during high allergy season. Peeling the food before eating may be helpful as well. Some studies have shown that treatment with allergy shots can improve the symptoms of OAS. You may react to different foods based on what type of seasonal allergies you are affected by. Here is a list of possible pollen and plant-based food cross-reactivities:
||Timothy & Orchard grass
||apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pear, plum, kiwi, carrot, celery, parsley peanut, soybean, almond, hazelnut
||peach, watermelon, orange, tomato white potato
||cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, banana, cucumber, white potato, zucchini
||bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, garlic, onion, parsley, aniseed, caraway, coriander, fennel, black pepper
If you think you may be experiencing Oral Allergy Syndrome, contact your board-certified Allergist today for an evaluation so we can help you manage your symptoms.