If you have pollen allergies, chances are, you may also have a vegetable or fruit allergy. This is because the proteins in many pollens are similar to those found in fruits and vegetables. (For instance, the chemical make-up of ragweed pollen is a lot like that of melons, bananas, and cucumbers.)
If you have allergies to both pollen and fruit/vegetables, you may suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS or “pollen-food syndrome”). With OAS, your body treats fruit and vegetable proteins just like it would a pollen granule—as an “invading enemy.” The immune system then devotes its resources to fighting off the proteins, wearing down the body and leading to troubling symptoms.
Signs of fruit allergy:
If you experience the following symptoms after eating fresh produce, you may have a vegetable or fruit allergy:
- Itching in the mouth or throat
- A rash or blisters where the mouth has been exposed to “problem foods”
- Swelling of the throat, making it harder to breathe; wheezing
- Skin rash
- Flatulence, cramps, diarrhea, or other digestive problems
Managing fruit allergy
To diminish your reaction to fresh produce, try cooking and peeling fruits and vegetables. Beyond that, new medical research1 has shown sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) to be a promising option for diminishing food allergy symptoms. SLIT is administered through sublingual (under-the-tongue) drops of allergy serum designed to desensitize patients to allergy-causing foods so they can eat more of the foods they enjoy.
1 See Research Studies for medical literature on sublingual immunotherapy for food allergies.