Why Fruit Allergies Differ From Other Food Allergies
Although no fruits are among the infamous Top 8 food allergens, reactions to fruits are somewhat common. However, they manifest in a slightly different way and are linked to environmental allergies.
Fruit Allergies and Pollen
Fruit allergies sometimes go hand-in-hand with pollen allergies. Although it’s possible to experience a reaction from only one of these fruits and be unaffected by the others, some individuals develop symptoms when consuming all associated fruits.
Grass pollen allergies are associated with allergies to melons, oranges, peaches and tomatoes, as well as to celery.
If you are allergic to ragweed pollen, then bananas, melons and cucumbers could cause sensitivity, as could zucchini and sunflower seeds.
And finally, birch pollen sensitivity has been linked to apple, cherry, kiwi, peach, pear, apricot and plum fruit allergies, as well as allergic reactions to carrot, celery, almond and hazelnut.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
This relationship between pollen, fruit and allergic reactions is formally known as “oral allergy syndrome.”
Oral allergy syndrome tends to appear in older children and teens versus small children. Symptoms tend to be isolated to the mouth and throat and can include a swollen, itchy feeling around the lips and tongue. Some sufferers describe it as simply an uncomfortable tingling sensation.
Oral allergy syndrome symptoms are only triggered by eating fruit in its raw form. And some people report that the skins are problematic but not the flesh.
People who experience oral allergy syndrome are unlikely to experience life-threatening reactions, breathing difficulty or hives, all of which are associated with food allergies. In fact, individuals report continuing to eat fruits that cause the symptoms, because the prospect of eating a tasty fruit outweighs the uncomfortable feeling they will also experience. However, gastrointestinal upset and other unpleasant symptoms can also occur as a result of oral allergy syndrome, so it’s certainly not something to take lightly.
Latex Allergy Crossover
Just as fruit allergies sometimes correspond with environmental allergies, they can also correspond to a latex allergy. If you are allergic to latex, then you may also be allergic to bananas, apples, kiwis, avocados, melons and papayas, as well as carrots, celery, chestnuts and potatoes. In fact, allergy crossover occurs in approximately 30 to 50 percent of people with a latex allergy. Researchers are still unclear why the sensitivities are related.
Talk to Your Allergist
Although some fruit allergies are relatively mild, speak to your family’s allergist if your child complains of a tingling mouth after eating fruit. He or she can advise you on how to best stay safe while also eating a balanced diet.