The holiday season means celebrations with friends and family, and what better way to celebrate than with a delicious, festive feast?
While some partygoers can enjoy whatever dish comes their way, others may need to proceed with caution due to food allergies, food intolerances, or oral allergy syndrome.
Oral Allergy Syndrome, Explained
While some may think oral allergy syndrome is simply an allergic reaction to certain foods, it’s actually a condition that affects those allergic to a different type of allergen: pollen, most often from silver birch or grass.
The proteins in these pollens closely resemble those found in certain fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, and others. When a pollen-sensitive immune system encounters a fruit or vegetable with similar proteins, it can overreact and lead to oral allergy syndrome.
Patients with a latex allergy may experience oral allergy syndrome as well because the proteins are also similar.
Symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include itchiness and tingling around the lips, mouth, and throat. It can even irritate the gums, eyes, and nose.
Oral allergy syndrome can flare up due to common ingredients found in many seasonal dishes, like:
- Brazil nuts
Up to 75% of patients with pollen-related allergies experience oral allergy syndrome symptoms after consuming one or more of these ingredients. Patients often experience oral allergy syndrome when eating a triggering food raw. Cooked foods do not always lead to symptoms, although it is possible for patients to still flare up after eating a cooked fruit or vegetable.
It is also possible to only experience symptoms after consuming one or two foods on the list. Plus, certain varieties of a food can cause symptoms while others do not. For example, a gala apple may cause symptoms for a particular patient while a granny smith apple does not.
How to Manage Allergy Symptoms During the Holidays
Those with oral allergy syndrome or symptoms of it should avoid eating raw foods from the list above. Proceed with caution when consuming any ingredients cooked at high temperatures. Try peeling certain foods since the triggering proteins are mostly concentrated in the skin of the food, and try canned foods as they are also less likely to cause a reaction.
If you suffer from pollen allergies, the best way to ensure safety before digging into your aunt’s 7-layer casserole is to talk to the specialists at Langford Allergy.
Our team can perform allergy testing to determine if oral allergy syndrome affects you. If it does, we can provide action plans and educational resources to help you avoid syndrome flare-ups in the future. Schedule your appointment with us today: 478-787-4728