Oral allergy syndrome and pollen food syndrome are two names for the same diagnosis. Those who have hay fever or other seasonal allergies may also have oral allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome affects over 50 percent of the population with an allergy to birch tree. Learn what it is, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated.
What It Is The Cause?
Oral allergy syndrome occurs when fresh fruits and vegetables cause local allergy symptoms, such itching of the mouth or throat with eating. Usually more severe or generalized allergy symptoms, such as hives, trouble breathing, or vomiting, do not occur with oral allergy syndrome but can occur with other more serious food allergies. This local reaction happens because the immune system becomes confused. The proteins in certain fresh fruits and vegetables are structurally similar to the pollens that cause hay fever. The immune system reacts to the similar proteins in these fresh foods, like it does pollens, causing allergy symptoms.
There are no tests specifically for oral allergy syndrome. However, an environmental allergy test can identify allergens that may be the culprit. Patients diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome also typically have histories of reactions to suspect fresh foods. An allergist/immunologist can help you determine if you have oral allergy syndrome or other more serious food allergies.
The best way to manage symptoms of oral allergy syndrome is to avoid eating the raw fruits and vegetables that cause an allergic reaction, particularly during the pollen season. Baking or microwaving these fruits and vegetables can prevent symptoms because heat breaks down the proteins responsible for oral allergy syndrome. Heating will not prevent reactions in other more serious food allergies. Peeling fresh fruits and vegetables may also minimize symptoms in oral allergy syndrome.
If you frequently find yourself with an itchy throat or mouth after eating fresh fruits and vegetables, contact us today for an appointment. Our allergists can help determine if you have oral allergy syndrome or other food allergies. If you have oral allergy syndrome, we will explain what foods to avoid based on the seasonal allergies you have.