Monday, May 4, 2015

Can Pollen Cause Food Allergies?

Spring not only brings out beautiful flowers, but the produce in the grocery stores and farmers markets looks so delicious.  Fresh fruits and vegetables for some are cause for fear.  Biting into them causes small water filled blisters and itchy lips.

Is it Possible that Pollen Can Cause Food Allergies?  

  • Nature uses similar patterns over again as building blocks.  Patterns similar on various pollens look like proteins that are also present on fruits and vegetables.  Direct contact with these patterns say when biting into for example, a fresh apple, may cause a local reaction.  
  • This is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food syndrome

What are Typical Cross Reacting Pollens and Foods?

Birch Pollen:  Apples, almonds, carrot, peanut, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, and plum

Grass Pollen- celery, melon, oranges, peaches, and tomato

Ragweed- banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds and zucchini

What Are Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome?

  • Itchy mouth, scratchy throat or localized swelling of lips, tongue, or throat
  • Itchy ears
  • Symptoms localized to the area of contact
How Do you Diagnose Oral Allergy Syndrome?

  • See your allergist.  Food allergies can be dangerous and lead to life threatening events.  You want to be sure that you have oral allergy syndrome and not a true food allergy.
  • You may need epinephrine and/or other allergy medication.  Your allergist will be able to help determine a specific anaphylaxis plan.  
  • Want to be evaluated for oral allergy syndrome?  Book an appointment here.   Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is located near Union Square at 205 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010