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.
Contact AllergyEasy to find a physician in your area who can test for food allergies and discuss the benefits of sublingual immunotherapy.
1 See Research Studies for medical literature on sublingual immunotherapy for food allergies.
About The Author
Stuart H. Agren, M.D.
Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.
Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.
In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.
After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.