Oral allergy syndrome is caused by protein substances that are found in pollen and on some raw fruits and vegetables. The body’s immune system recognizes and reacts to these substances causing an allergy syndrome. Even if the proteins are not identical, they can be similar enough to fool the immune system. Up to a third of individuals with hay fever (seasonal allergies) will develop oral allergy syndrome. Common cross-reactions include: 1. birch pollen and apples, carrots, celery, almonds, kiwis, cherries, pears, peaches, hazelnuts and plums. 2. ragweed pollen and cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini and bananas. 3. grass pollen and melons, oranges, tomatoes, peaches and celery.
The main signs of oral allergy syndrome (a localized allergic reaction to food) include swelling of the throat, tongue, or lips and an itchy feeling in your throat or ears. Peeling of the offending fruit or vegetable may help, as the offending protein is often located in the food’s skin. Consuming the produce after it has been canned, baked or microwaved is also beneficial as cooking the foods helps to deactivate the offending protein substance. However, the best treatment is simply avoiding the offending food.
Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers seasonal allergy and food sensitivity testing to her patients. There are multiple treatment options including acupuncture, dietary modifications and sublingual immunotherapy. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Offices are maintained in Tampa and Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida.