Your Quick Guide to Oral Allergy Food Triggers
Have you ever felt a tingling sensation in your mouth after taking a bite out of a delicious or nutritious treat? If yes, the chances are that you have oral allergy syndrome, otherwise known as pollen-food allergy syndrome. This happens because your immune system can’t tell the difference between proteins and pollen.
Oral allergy syndrome mostly affects teenagers and adults, though younger children are also prone to getting it. In the majority of cases, the reactions are mild and brief. Antihistamines, epinephrine (for severe reactions), and immunotherapy are three courses of action.
In a previous article, we discussed how allergies could affect your oral health. Today, we will discuss the various food triggers that can cause the itching, tingling, and swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat.
What are the symptoms?
In rare cases, oral allergies can cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Symptoms may include:
- Severe itchy sensation over the mouth, lips, and throat
- Tightness in your throat
- Shortness of breath
Call 911 if you experience any of these signs. Your doctor can also determine you if you’re at risk for anaphylaxis and may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector.
What foods should I watch out for?
It’s important to know what pollen-based trigger foods may worsen your allergies. Here’s a quick guide:
If you have a birch allergy, the potential food triggers for oral allergy syndrome include:
Birch is one of the biggest causes of cross-reactions. Celery, nectarines, kiwi, apples, and apricots are the most common triggers.
If you have a ragweed allergy, these might cause a reaction:
- Sunflower seeds
If you have a grass allergy, you may want to avoid:
If you have a mugwort allergy, then any of these may cause you problems:
- Bell peppers
- Black pepper
If you have latex allergies, the following foods could cause a reaction:
In 9 percent of people with oral allergy syndrome, severe symptoms can occur and require immediate medical intervention. If you experience a reaction to a pollen-based food that extends beyond your mouth area, you should seek medical attention.
According to Mary Tobin, MD, associate chair for clinical programs at Rush University Medical Center: “Consuming any of the trigger foods will cause a similar reaction every time.” It could even worsen if you consume your food triggers during the height of pollen season. It’s also important to take note that not all foods associated with one of the pollens will trigger a reaction. The best way to avoid oral allergy syndrome is to steer clear of all triggers. To get an idea of which specific food items to evade, consult your general practitioner to get an allergy test.