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Health: Oral Allergy Syndrome

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submitted by Rachelle Himes

Allergy season is apon us. Although we may not see ragweed and grass in full bloom yet, they are lurking! 
One of the ways our allergies can be triggered is via the food we eat. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) occurs when we eat certain foods that have similar proteins as pollen. You may get an itchy mouth or throat after you eat certain fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Some common cross-reactive foods include: 
  • Birch pollen: apple, almond, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, plum
  • Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomato
  • Ragweed pollen: banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini
The reaction is usually mild and does not trigger anaphylaxis in most cases. If this reaction occurs it is best to avoid the food trigger, especially during high pollen season. 
You can reduce the chance of reaction by peeling the food, cooking the food or eating the food in a canned version. All of these techniques lessen the pollen like proteins on the food. 
Seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or if you experience symptoms after eating the food cooked. 
To learn more about OAS (oral allergy syndrome) visit the Allergy Asthma Network website. http://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org


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