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Food Allergy

Fall is here in Kansas City and Dr.  Bernabe warns allergy sufferers can not only complain of itchy, watery eyes, runny nose but also itchy, tingling, burning mouth when eating fresh fruits and raw vegetables.  This is called Oral Allergy Syndrome which is tied to the fact that some fruit and vegetable proteins are genetic cousins to certain pollens.  So people allergic to pollen may experience symptoms when they eat related foods – such as cantaloupe or watermelon with ragweed allergy, or apples or carrots with birch tree – especially during the pollen seasons.  Fortunately, most of the time it does not progress to any other symptoms beyond local discomfort because these fruit and vegetable proteins are broken down quickly by enzymes in your mouth or stomach so they are unlikely to be absorbed into your bloodstream and cause a more generalized reaction.  There are rare reports that the reaction can progress to become more severe but most of the time it is just causes oral discomfort.  As with all allergy symptoms, I advise someone who experiences these symptoms to seek the best allergy care by going to a Board Certified Allergist who can help predict potential foods that may cause problems through pollen skin testing.  Due to the delicate nature of the fruit and vegetable proteins,  these proteins are usually not included the standard food allergy skin tests; yet, a Board Certified Allergist can skin test with the fresh fruit or raw vegetables to help identify the exact foods one is reacting to.


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