Q. Can you post information about dealing with oral allergy syndrome? – F.W.
A: Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a type of food allergy classified by a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, nuts and vegetables that typically develops in adult hay fever sufferers. OAS is a cross-reactivity between tree or weed pollen still found in certain fruits and vegetables. Therefore, this syndrome is confined to people with tree and weed allergies, and is usually limited to ingestion of only uncooked fruits and vegetables. The best thing to do is make sure you visit an allergist or immunologist so you are properly diagnosed and if allergy shots are needed, you are properly treated.
Ragweed Allergy: People with ragweed allergies may react to bananas, melons, honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelons, or tomatoes, zucchini, sunflower seeds, dandelions, chamomile tea and Echinacea.
Birch Pollen Allergy: People with birch pollen allergies may react to kiwi, apples, pears, peaches, kiwi, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazelnuts and almonds.
Grass Allergy: People with a grass allergy may react to peaches, celery, tomatoes, melons and oranges according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Latex Rubber Allergy: Like pollen allergy, people allergic to latex rubber may react to bananas, avocados, kiwi, chestnut and papaya.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL: A recent study shows that in about 2% of people with oral allergy syndrome, oral allergy symptoms could progress to anaphylactic shock, which could be deadly without immediate treatment like an epinephrine shot (Auvi-Q, EpiPen).
Don’t Eat Trigger Foods
The basic rule: If a food makes you uncomfortable, don’t eat it. If it’s a favorite food, try these tips:
- Cook it. Cooking often breaks down or alters the trigger proteins so that the immune system doesn’t target them.
- Peel it. Peeling fruits such as apples may help, because most trigger proteins are in the peel.
- Can it. Canning also breaks down trigger proteins.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Allergy center for more helpful articles and tips.