Winter oral allergy syndrome in Atlanta

Do you experience allergy symptoms after eating certain fruits and vegetables? If this is the case in your life, you could be suffering from oral allergy syndrome, or OAS. Also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, OAS is a food allergy with a cross-reactivity between some fruits, nuts, vegetables and pollen. But with pollen allergies usually associated with spring and summer, will OAS be an issue for Atlanta residents during the winter?

Can You Get the Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome During the Winter?

OAS is not restricted to a season and can occur at any time of year. In addition, it will affect people in different ways. And while many individuals may start to experience OAS symptoms during springtime as plants begin to flower and pollen is abundant, that won’t always be the case.

The variation in allergy seasons is caused by the differing pollination times of plants. Trees, grasses and weeds pollinate by spreading their pollen over large distances at different times of year, and winter is no exception. Exposure to certain types of pollen in any season can cause hay fever and other common allergies.

However, for a person with OAS, similarities in the proteins found in certain foods and pollen will trigger a reaction, known as cross-reactivity. Common fruits and vegetables causing allergic reactions include apples, bananas, peaches, oranges, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes (along with certain tree nuts). Identifying your own triggers is a practical starting point for treating oral allergy syndrome.

What Pollens Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome in Winter?

As established, pollination occurs at different times of the year depending on weather and location. In the Atlanta area, ragweed is a common allergen found during the winter months. Along with grass and birch pollen, ragweed is the allergen most closely associated with OAS.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the foods likely to trigger a cross-reactive allergic reaction with ragweed are bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds and zucchini. As levels will vary daily, checking the local pollen count can offer greater clarity.

How to Determine if You Have Oral Allergy Syndrome

There is no specific test for OAS. Instead, allergists use skin prick allergy testing or blood testing to identify an allergy to a type of pollen. Your allergist will combine your test results with an analysis of your symptoms and medical history to provide a diagnosis.

And while OAS symptoms are typically mild, some people will unfortunately experience severe allergic reactions from eating fruits and vegetables. If you are concerned, your allergist can provide a diagnosis and treatment plan that can range from allergen avoidance or cooking the food, to specific medications or pollen desensitization through immunotherapy.

Trusted Oral Allergy Syndrome Treatment in the Atlanta Area

With an allergist-prescribed treatment plan, oral allergy syndrome doesn’t need to put your health at risk. Visit Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth or Johns Creek for diagnosis and treatment. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.

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