“Class 2 Food Allergy”; Oral Allergy Syndrome

It is that time of year again. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance; customers come in and must avoid certain raw fruits and veggies.  Last year I posted in our newsletter, blog and facebook page about Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) and decided it is time to post it again after I saw this great chart (at bottom) in an Allergic Living Magazine article. (written by Colleen Seto).  Oral allergy syndrome is also known as Pollen Food Syndrome and is considered a class 2 food allergy because it is linked to specific raw fruits and vegetables, spices, and even nuts or seeds.

It effects those who have allergies to trees, grass and ragweed. Basically the immune system will recognize the protein from these certain fruits and veggies as being the pollen protein and then a reaction will occur. It starts by being allergic to pollen and upon inhaling it; then progresses when they body starts reacting to foods that share similar proteins with the pollen. Making the food allergy secondary to the actual pollen allergy.

I have many environmental allergies and had to take allergy shots for a few years when I was younger. I definitely notice mild OAS when I eat things like raw bananas, strawberries and some apples. (I also notice an issue when I consume Stevia; a sweetener from the leaves of the Stevia plant, part of the sunflower family.)  According to the article; the reaction is usually immediate and it can start with itchy lips, tongue, throat, and can cause swelling.  It usually is mild and subsides when the offending food is in the digestive system where the proteins are broken down. However, cooking the food thoroughly will break down the protein so ingesting is not a problem.

OAS can be hard to diagnose because a reaction to a ripe fruit is more severe than to an unripened fruit.  Between 30 and 70% of the population with a birch pollen allergy have OAS, however, most have only mild reactions. Some can experience vomiting, cramps and diarrhea while only 2% have an anaphylactic reaction like swelling of the throat, hives and trouble breathing. (Nuts, celery, peaches and apples tend to be linked to the more serious reactions)

See chart below and Click Here to Read Full Article

Oral Allergy Sydrome


Pollen/Oral Food Allergy Syndrome

Spring is in the air and that means pollen and it can also affect you via food that you eat! Pollen or Oral Allergy Syndrome is very common in those with pollen allergies and very common in adults. I am allergic to just about every tree, grass, hay, wool, feathers, pet dander (cats, dogs and more) and really did not know much about the cross reactions with food.

Basically, a person with a pollen allergy can develop allergic symptoms to foods that are related to that specific pollen. The symptoms can be an itchy or mild swelling of the throat, lips or mouth when they eat certain raw fruits and vegetables. What is happening is that the immune system is identifying them as the pollen that the immune system already has a trigger to.

Birch Tree Pollen: Apples and Pears

Birch Tree and Mugwort Weed Pollen: Celery and Carrots

Grass Pollen: Potato

Symptoms may be worse during or after that related pollen season. Less than 10% have widespread reactions and only about 1-2% have had anaphylaxis. Cooking the fruit or vegetables before eating breaks down the protein and will make the food less allergenic.  To see the article featuring Dr Hemant Sharma of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC; click on link below.