Oral Allergy Syndrome

Cross-reactive allergies like oral allergy syndrome are not always easy to understand. With the guidance of an Atlanta allergist and an effective oral allergy syndrome treatment plan, patients can gain some clarity on the condition. However, many people risk their health by not seeking assistance when dealing with allergies. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the important information you should know.

Have you ever eaten an apple and after a while noticed that your tongue became a little swollen? Have you eaten a carrot for an afternoon snack and found that your gums are a little itchy or tender afterward? If so, chances are that you may have Oral Allergy Syndrome or pollen-food allergy syndrome.

What Is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and some raw fruits, vegetables, or tree-nuts. This reaction occurs because certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain similar proteins to a pollen or other environmental allergen that you are allergic to. These proteins confuse your body’s immune system and cause an allergic reaction.

Those who are allergic to birch pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, and other common environmental allergens are likely to develop Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Oral Allergy Syndrome does not typically appear in younger children. It can be more common in older children, teenagers, or young adults even if they have eaten trigger foods for years without experiencing a reaction.

There is no definitive test specific to this syndrome, but affected individuals often test positive to allergy skin tests for specific pollens.

Pollen Protein Triggers/Risk Factors

Though not everyone with pollen allergy experiences Oral Allergy Syndrome, the most common allergy culprits are birch tree pollen, grass pollen, and ragweed pollen.

  • Birch pollen commonly affects the following foods: almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, coriander/cilantro, celery, cherries, fennel, hazelnuts, kiwi, nectarines, parsnips, peaches, pears, pepper, and plums
  • Grass pollen commonly affects the following foods: celery, cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges, peaches, tomatoes, and watermelon
  • Ragweed pollen commonly affects the following foods: bananas, cantaloupe, chamomile, cucumbers, honeydew, sunflower seeds, watermelon, and zucchini

Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral Allergy Syndrome is considered a mild form of food allergy and rarely causes severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Symptoms can worsen during the pollination season, so you may become more sensitive to these foods during this time of year as well. Common symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome include but are not limited to:

  • An itching or tingling sensation on your tongue or roof of your mouth
  • Itchy, numb, or swollen lips or gums
  • A scratchy throat
  • Sneezing and nasal congestion

Itchy ears and hives are sometimes reported but are considered a more sensitive reaction than the average patient may experience.

How Is Oral Allergy Syndrome Diagnosed?

Oral allergy syndrome is diagnosed using skin testing or food allergy testing. And before tests are conducted, your allergist will discuss symptoms and your relevant medical history. Next, the allergist is likely to perform a skin test – placing pollen allergens on the skin to identify skin hives. You may also undergo a food challenge test, which involves eating foods while under supervision to monitor for allergic reactions.

Treatments for Oral Allergy Syndrome

In most cases, the reactions are mild and do not last long, usually disappearing after you ingest the allergen. Therefore, seeking medical care is often unnecessary as the best treatment for Oral Allergy Syndrome is avoiding trigger foods.

Sometimes patients can use antihistamines or allergy medicine to reduce their symptoms. Other ways to reduce your reactions to trigger foods include:

  • Cooking or heating these foods prior to consumption as the chemical composition of the proteins changes during the heating process
  • Buying canned fruits and vegetables instead of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Peeling the skin off of these fruits and vegetables can also help as the triggering proteins are often found in the skin of the produce

Contact Us for Oral Allergy Syndrome Treatment in the Atlanta Area

If your allergy symptoms are triggered after eating certain types of fruit and vegetables, speak to Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center for oral allergy syndrome treatment and advice. Our convenient allergy centers are located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. To reach us, call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.

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