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You’re eating a piece of fruit when your mouth starts feeling itchy. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. You have pollen allergies, but are you developing a food allergy, too? Chances are you’re actually dealing with a pollen-allergy-related condition called oral allergy syndrome.
What is oral allergy syndrome?
Oral allergy syndrome is a condition in which people experience an itchy mouth or scratchy throat after eating certain raw fruits, vegetables, and some tree nuts. They may also experience swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. They may even get itchy ears.
While people may think these symptoms are from food allergies, they may actually be related to pollen allergies. This is because the proteins found in some fruits and vegetables are similar to those found in pollen. This can confuse the immune system and cause an allergic reaction.
It is important to rule out food allergies, however, especially with symptoms related to tree nuts and peanuts. That’s because those allergic symptoms can be a precursor to life-threatening reactions, including anaphylaxis, CEENTA Otolaryngologist John Kilde, MD, said.
What should you watch out for?
Those with oral allergy syndrome usually have an allergy to ragweed, grass, or birch pollens. People with grass pollen allergies can experience reactions to:
People with ragweed pollen allergies, might react to:
- Sunflower seeds
People with birch pollen allergies could react to:
Oral allergy syndrome is more common in older children, teens, and young adults. People who experience it often have eaten fruits or vegetables for years without a problem. Oral allergy syndrome does not typically appear in young children.
How do I avoid Oral Allergy Syndrome?
The best way to avoid these symptoms is to:
- Avoid eating these raw foods, especially during peak allergy season
- Cook them instead of eating them raw, as that will break down the proteins responsible for oral allergy syndrome
- Peel them, as the protein is often concentrated in the skin
If you suspect you have pollen allergies or oral allergy syndrome, you should make an appointment at one of the CEENTA offices that does allergy testing. They will test you to see if you have any allergic reactions and will help you come up with a treatment plan if you do. This can include anything from over-the-counter medicines to immunotherapy.
Don’t let pollen allergies keep you from enjoying your favorite fruits and vegetables. Make an allergy appointment at CEENTA today.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with an allergy specialist, call 704-295-3000.
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