According to a recent study, seasonal allergies to pollen may also signal food sensitivities, particularly a likelihood to react to certain fruits and vegetables. Up to a third of those who experience a stuffy nose and itchy eyes when pollen is in the air may also have food sensitivities.
According to Dr. Saakwa Mante, an allergist at Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Clinic, the link is known as Oral Allergy Syndrome. In a recent interview with he described the reaction experienced by those with a sensitivity to fruits or vegetables: “Symptoms include an itchy mouth and irritation or swelling of the lips. The symptoms usually come on within minutes of eating the suspect food and are generally mild.
The specific foods people react to may be connected to the type of seasonal allergy they experience. Those allergic to ragweed, a seasonal allergy that usually affects them most during the late summer or early fall, may exhibit sensitivities to cantaloupe, banana, cucumber, watermelon, or honeydew. According to Dr. Mante, this link is caused by similarities between proteins in ragweed pollen and those in these foods.
Meanwhile, those allergic to birch tree pollen, which is usually present in the early spring, may have sensitivities to peaches, apples, kiwi, fennel, or cherries. Late-spring grass allergies may be tied to sensitivities to tomatoes or oranges. In addition, those who are allergic to latex may be sensitive to banana, avocado, or papaya.
Do you have seasonal allergies? Have you noticed any reaction to these fruits or vegetables?