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Pollen Food Syndrome

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You walk outside and can't escape the pollen; it's all around us this time of season, but just like the pollen, some seasonal fruits and veggies you eat could also be irritating your allergies.

"When you're allergic to something - be it pollen or food or cat or dust mite - you are allergic to a protein."

And it's the proteins in some foods that are similar to those allergy causing proteins in some pollen which can cause your allergies to go into overdrive. "So if you are allergic to that pollen protein, not everybody, but a lot of people, when they eat the related fruit or vegetable they will have itchy mouth and throat and in some cases can cause throat swelling or anaphylaxis."

Its called Pollen Food Syndrome or Oral Allergy Syndrome and allergist Dr. Thomas Harper III says it can affect quite a few people that have seasonal allergies. He says if you are allergic to birch pollen which is around in the spring, you will more than likely have a histamine response from apples, almonds, carrots, hazelnuts, kiwis, and pears - the food connected with grass pollens in the late spring and summer are celery,oranges,melons, peaches and tomatoes. "So if someone comes in and says 'I'm here because I can't eat a watermelon or cantaloupe' I can guarantee them they are going to be allergic to ragweed and they almost always are.

Dr. Harper says heating the fruits and vegetables break down the protein and can help avoid a reaction. "So people say when 'I eat raw apples, my mouth will have issues but when I eat an apple pie I can eat that without a problem' so cooking and food will help and taking the skin off will also help."

Dr. Harper says Pollen Food Syndrome usually does not develop in early childhood but in early teens, 20s and 30s. He says your best bet to relieve and in many cases get rid of allergies over time is by getting allergy injection shots.

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