Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen fruit syndrome, is caused by hay fever. Although not everyone who has hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, has oral allergy syndrome, it’s believed to affect approximately 33 percent of hay fever sufferers.
What Exactly is Oral Allergy Syndrome?
When a person has hay fever, they’re exhibiting the signs of an allergic reaction to birch, timothy, orchard grass, ragweed, or mugwort. One out of every three people will also suffer from cross-reactivity to vegetables or raw fruit. In other words, the food and pollen will elicit a similar response in their body due to their immune system becoming confused.
A good example of this is how a springtime allergy to birch can cause issues eating apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and pears. Meanwhile, a fall allergy to mugwort doesn’t affect these particular fruits at all. Instead, it causes issues with vegetables.
How Do I Know if I Have Oral Allergy Syndrome?
If you have hay fever and oral allergy syndrome, your throat will feel itchy when you eat certain foods. It’s also believed to cause your hay fever symptoms to worsen. Avoiding any foods that cause this reaction is best, particularly during the season when your hay fever is active.
However, there are times when you may not be able to steer completely clear of trigger foods. Whether it’s because you ate it by accident or you simply love it, there are a few ways to reduce the impact of oral allergy syndrome such as:
- Microwaving the food because heat will break down the affected proteins
- Eating a canned version of the food
- Peeling the food removes much of the allergen
Will I Have Problems with Every Food Listed?
You won’t necessarily have problems with every type of food listed. In fact, some people only have issues with one specific apple such as Gala, yet they can eat the rest of them with no problems. The only way to know for sure is to go through a process of elimination.
When Should I Speak to My Physician?
If you have signs of hay fever and oral allergy syndrome, it’s wise to let your doctor know right away. Your doctor may be able to give you a shot that will reduce your symptoms. Additionally, always let your doctor know if:
- Your symptoms become progressively worse
- You are experiencing significant throat discomfort
- Your symptoms still flare after eating cooked vegetables and fruits
- You have symptoms after eating nuts
- You develop difficulty breathing, vomiting, or hives after eating vegetables or raw fruits
Help is Available
If you’ve been suffering from oral allergy syndrome, you can get help. Visit the professionals at Bernstein Allergy Group to receive treatment for allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. By treating the root cause of your symptoms, you can find relief!