About 20 percent of the population suffers from the itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and sinus congestion that accompany seasonal allergies. Of those people, 25 percent also suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Symptoms include uncomfortable itchiness, tingling, or swelling in the mouth, lips, or throat when consuming certain fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Proteins in allergy inducing pollens are so similar to the proteins in certain types of foods, and this similarity creates the OAS reaction. Kind of creates a different meaning to "cross pollination." The body recognizes those food proteins as an allergen, and as soon as the person eats the offending food, it triggers their sensitive immune system to release chemicals that cause cells in the mouth and throat to swell. These reactions, called cross reactions, are usually mild and last for 10 to 30 minutes. Only fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts can cause OAS reactions. Eating canned, cooked, dried, or frozen versions of those same foods usually cause no reaction. Also, just so you know, OAS is different than a nut allergy. In order for a person to have OAS, they must have an allergy to pollen.
Are you curious to know which foods are connected to which allergens? Then read more!
Note: Cross reactions may occur with some or all of the foods listed in the right-hand column.
|Type of Allergy||Foods That May Cause Cross Reactions|
|Birch Tree pollen||Almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, celery, cherries, coriander, fennel, hazelnuts, kiwi, lychee fruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, persimmon, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, wheat, zucchini, walnuts|
|Grass pollen||Celery, watermelon, oranges, peaches, tomatoes|
|Ragweed pollen||Bananas, melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), gourd family (cucumber, zucchini and squash), chamomile, echinacea, sunflower seeds, zucchini|
|Alder pollen||Celery, pears, apples, almonds, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, parsley|
|Mugwort pollen||Celery, fennel, carrots, parsley, coriander, sunflower, peppers|
Just because you have an allergy to one of the pollens listed above, does not mean you'll automatically have a reaction to the foods listed to the right. If you've been noticing swelling, itching, or tingling in your mouth or throat, it's best to get tested by an allergist.