Allergies : Springtime Food Allergies

Do you suffer from hay fever? If you're one of millions of Americans who gets seasonal allergies come springtime, you may notice that certain foods give you a scratchy throat or make your mouth tingle or itch. Oral allergy syndrome -- also known as pollen-food syndrome -- is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables, and some tree nuts. According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it.

Oral allergy syndrome doesn't typically appear in young kids. The onset is more common in older children and young adults who have been eating the questionable fruits or veggies for years without any problems. Not everyone with a pollen allergy experiences oral allergy syndrome, but food reactions are most commonly associated with the following allergens:
  • Birch pollen: You may experience a reaction to eating apples, almonds, carrots, celery, cherries, hazelnuts, kiwi, peaches, pears, or plums.
  • Grass pollen: Celery, melons, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes may cause a reaction.
  • Ragweed pollen: Bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, and zucchini may be problematic if you're allergic to ragweed.
Symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include an itchy or tingling mouth, scratchy throat, or swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat. Symptoms usually subside quickly when the food is swallowed, but in rare cases, pollen-food allergy syndrome can cause anaphylaxis.

Cooking fruits and veggies can help prevent this reaction. But if you eat them raw, you may experience symptoms.

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