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Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome vs. Food Allergies

How to Identify Oral Allergy Syndrome

Plums are hands-down one of my favorite Summer fruits. Not only do they look beautiful and taste delicious, they've also been found to increase iron absorption thanks to their high vitamin C content. Unfortunately, each time I choose to indulge in a ripe plum, I face a trade-off; delicious Summer fruit taste, itchy, uncomfortable mouth.

Twenty-five percent of seasonal allergy sufferers also fall victim to Oral Allergy Syndrome, or OAS, an allergy to proteins in certain types of pollen found in fruits and vegetables. The symptoms, which are different than those of a typical food allergy, include an uncomfortable itchy, tingling sensation or even swelling in your mouth upon eating the offending fresh fruit, vegetable, or nut.

For more on the difference between OAS and food allergy symptoms, keep reading.

The symptoms often aren't severe enough to prevent sufferers from enjoying the food, which is good news for me and my fridge full of plums. The uncomfortable feeling generally lasts for about 10 minutes to a half-hour.
True food allergies, on the other hand, carry symptoms that are far more severe. A food allergy causes reactions like hives, nausea, and facial swelling, and in severe cases can cause difficulty breathing or swelling in your throat.

Oral allergy syndrome can only be triggered by fresh fruits and vegetables, so cooking them or eating their dried versions won't cause a reaction. And as long as you can deal with 15 minutes or so of itchy discomfort, you don't have to avoid fresh versions of OAS-triggering foods.

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AmyeToTheRescue AmyeToTheRescue 5 years
I also have OAS. I cannot each ANY raw fruits or vegetables including spinach and many types of nuts, but cooked is fine. I used to only get the tickle, but it got worse as I got older.My throat started to close if I ate too much, so I have had to stop eating anything raw. Blueberries, raspberries, and grapefruit are okay and I don't know why! Please be careful and talk to a good doctor!
curLRocker curLRocker 5 years
almonds, as well as walnuts!
curLRocker curLRocker 5 years
i have been experiencing this with almonds for a couple of years now. at first it was just the un-peeled ones, but now both affect me. it also spread to cherries and strawberries this summer which drove me crazy because they are my favorite fruits. my reaction to pineapple also got worse this year. the feeling really is irritating to the point where i had to avoid them all together.
JanisRae JanisRae 5 years
I have this with apples. My gums, tounge, and lips would swell and become very itchy. I have a severe allergy to birch pollen and as it turns out, apples carry the same allergen that birch trees carry. I started getting allergy shots to help with my *many* seasonal allergies and it has been a huge relief! I still get a little itchy but nowhere as bad as I did before. Moral of the story: get allergy tested then get allergy shots! You will find out so many things and it will help you make smart choices for your lifestyle (food-related or otherwise).
Spectra Spectra 5 years
Pineapples always make my lips itch a little, but only if they're fresh. The canned ones never do anything to me.
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 5 years
I've gotten this from apples, bananas and certain melons since I was a kid but I never knew it was. I'm glad I know the name for it now.
bryseana bryseana 5 years
When I used to apples I would get inflammation on my gums and lips. It was very painful.
sherina sherina 5 years
Avocados and different types of melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc) give me an itchy sensation on the roof of my mouth and my throat. I don't like melon enough to put up with it so I just avoid those. However, I love avocado (and guacamole!) too much to give that up. It's never gotten worse, so I don't worry about it. Despite what Anonymous said, I've read on medical sites that it's nothing to be concerned about.
Amelie074 Amelie074 5 years
Bananas do this to me plus tomatoes. I can eat tomato sauce or pizza but fresh tomatoes always irritate. Nice to know it's an actual condition and not just weirdness on my part.
skigurl skigurl 5 years
I have had this my entire life (BAD - tons of fruits and veggies) but never knew what it was and no one ever believed me (just figured I didn't like veggies and fruit unless they were baked in a pie), and then 2 weeks ago, at age 28, I got allergy tests and now I actually know the name of the syndrome. Funny you mention it here, because for my entire life, I had no idea.
opentypeA opentypeA 5 years
I get this with citrus fruits. I couldn't eat oranges when I was in high school because my gums would swell into my braces — ouch!
pink-pirate pink-pirate 5 years
I have this with a number of fruits: apples, cherries, and kiwis, among others. Cooked or juiced I have no problems. However for me the itching is very uncomfortable - enough to keep me from eating them. I've also been told by doctors that the amount of fruit needed to cause a reaction will decrease over time, so they should be avoided in their fresh form. I guess everyone is different but recommending people to just eat the fruit anyway doesn't seem like a good idea.
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