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Oral Allergy Syndrome


 

The oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a common adverse allergic reaction to the ingestion of certain raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts in people with pollen allergies. Allergens in these allergic foods are similar to the allergens in the pollens.

Some reports suggest that 25% to 50% of people with pollen allergy have the OAS and up to 75% of people with birch tree allergy have the OAS.

The most common symptoms of the OAS are itching and tingling of the mouth and throat usually within minutes of eating the raw allergic food. There can be varying degrees of swelling inside the mouth that is rarely life-threatening. There is less than a 1% chance of anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction. Your allergist will be able to inform you if you are at risk for associated anaphylaxis or not. Typically the reaction does not occur if the food is cooked or canned. For example, eating raw carrots will trigger the reaction but eating cooked carrots will not. The symptoms generally last minutes and will resolve on their own as long as you immediately stop eating the allergic food.

Listed below is an updated list from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology regarding the different foods associated with pollen types that could trigger oral allergy syndrome.

Pollen typeSeasonFoods Associated with Oral Allergy Syndrome
Birch treeSpringApple, Apricot, Cherry, Peach, Pear, Plum, Kiwi
Carrot, Celery, Parsley
Peanut, Soybean
Almond Hazelnut
Timothy and orchard grassSpring-SummerPeach, Watermelon, Orange
White potato, tomato
RagweedLate Summer-FallCantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, Banana
Cucumber, white potato, Zucchini
Mugwort (mold)FallBell pepper, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Garlic, Onion, Parsley
Aniseed, Caraway, Coriander, Fennel, Black Pepper
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