What is oral allergy syndrome?
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) normally affects people who are allergic to some type of pollen. People with ragweed allergy, for example, may experience itching and tingling of the mouth, tongue, and throat after eating watermelon, cantaloupe, banana, or cucumber. OAS is due to cross-reactivity between certain pollen proteins and food proteins, meaning that the immune system cannot distinguish between the two different proteins. Most cases of OAS present mild allergic symptoms and do not require medical treatment; however, in some cases, OAS may lead to more severe symptoms and anaphylaxis.
It’s also called pollen-food syndrome and it’s related to “hay fever.” Oral allergy syndrome is an allergic reaction to the proteins in many fruits, vegetables and nuts that are similar to the proteins in the pollen. It’s called a “cross reaction.” In other words, if you are very allergic to particular pollen, that reaction may crossover to other parts of the same or similar plant. For example, if you’re very allergic to birch tree pollen, you may develop itchy throat after eating apples, peaches, cherries, pears, even carrots, kiwis and walnuts! What are common oral allergy symptoms? Some common symptoms are: • Itchy throat • Itchy mouth • Itchy eyes • Tingling in the mouth, lips or throat • Swelling of the mouth, lips or throat • Burning sensation in the lips, mouth or throat • Runny Nose • Sneezing More serious symptoms have been reported including hives, rashes, vomiting, asthma and anaphylaxis, which occur almost immediately, but sometimes may not come on for over an hour. The bes