If you suffer from pollen allergies and also notice that your throat itches when you eat certain fruits and vegetables, there is a good chance that you have a condition known as oral allergy syndrome or OAS. The condition is a type of contact allergic reaction that is triggered when the body mistakes the proteins found in certain foods with similar proteins found in pollen.
Symptoms of OAS:
The symptoms of OAS can occur at any time during the year. In most cases, the symptoms are mild and include swelling and itching of the face, throat, lips, tongue, and mouth. In rare cases, the reaction may be severe enough to cause difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Reactions Vary Based on Type of Allergy:
If you have OAS, the type of pollen that triggers your seasonal allergy symptoms will typically determine your particular food sensitivity. For example, if you are allergic to birch pollen, you may also have allergic symptoms when eating carrots, pitted fruit, and certain nuts. Grass allergies can also cause reactions to celery, peaches, tomatoes, and melons. If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also have cross-sensitivity to cucumber, bananas, zucchini, and melon.
OAS symptoms are usually triggered by eating the raw fruit or vegetable. You can reduce the likelihood of a reaction by cooking the food or opting for canned fruits or vegetables. Peeling the food may also help since much of the protein is located in the skin.
You should contact a doctor if your symptoms get worse, cause significant discomfort, are triggered by cooked foods, or cause vomiting or other systemic reactions.
At Allergy & Asthma Associates of Allen, we specialize in helping patients find relief from a variety of different allergies and immunological conditions. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation.