Are you allergic to ragweed pollen? If so, chances are that you are also allergic to bananas, watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, and chamomile tea. This is a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity wherein the body reacts negatively to certain environmental pollens as well as food items that share a chemical make-up that is similar to these pollens.
Other examples of cross-reactivity include:
- Birch tree to apple, almond, apricots, hazelnuts, peach, pear, and wheat
- Grass pollens to melon, tomato, and orange
When the body reacts to proteins in various fruits and vegetables, it is called oral allergy syndrome. Symptoms of OAS include an itching or burning sensation in the lips, mouth, ear canal and throat. It can also lead to swelling of these same areas. Some OAS sufferers may also experience hives, gastrointestinal upset, and hay fever-like symptoms.
These allergic reactions stem from our immune systems overreacting to various proteins (found in pollens and/or fruit) and releasing histamine into the body that can cause a host of symptoms including oral allergy syndrome, hay fever, etc.
Cooking and peeling fruits and vegetables may help stop cross-reactive oral allergy syndrome. If allergies are significantly affecting your quality of life, though, consider seeking a no-shots, no-hassle allergy solution from an AllergyEasy physician. Call 1-877-276 (2SNEEZE) to find an AllergyEasy physician near you.