One third of Canadians suffer from hay fever and an impressive 10 per cent of those have a related type of allergic reaction called Oral Allergy Syndrome. OAS is a so-called “cross-reaction” – since the proteins present in certain trees are structured similarly to the proteins in certain fruits and vegetables. In most people, OAS is a relatively mild allergic response, and people who have it can eat the vegetables or fruits that cause inflammation and itchiness in their throat and mouths – as long as those foods are cooked.
Cradling a fresh, succulent peach in my hands, I take in its tantalizing aroma. I rub the fuzz lightly on my lips before taking a big, juice-dripping bite. Delicious.
I swallow, and the tingling begins. First on my tongue, then throughout my mouth and my throat. Tingling becomes itching: there is no stranger feeling than an itchy tongue. That bane of the fruit-loving, Oral Allergy Syndrome, has kicked in.
If trees make you sneeze, they may also make you react to certain fruits and vegetables. AL explores the science behind oral allergy syndrome, nature’s allergic double whammy.
As friends herald the melting of the snow with the glee of a lottery winner, it’s often hard for the tree allergic to join the celebrating. They know that their foes – birch, elm, maple, alder, poplar and their nasty ilk – have begun to churn out clouds of tiny allergy-causing particles. It won’t be long before the runny nose, the wheezing or the red itchy eyes predictably begin again.
Q I just moved to Toronto from Italy. I was considered “peach allergic” there, but here, my GP says the symptoms are oral allergy syndrome and to avoid raw peaches. But I’m not convinced; I did get hives and throat tightness after toast with a jam (that turned out to be peach). How do I know if this is a “real allergy”?
Allergic Living provides insight on how to manage OAS.
For such a small, fuzzy fruit, it sure can cause more than its share of problems. Also known as the Chinese gooseberry or macaque peach, the kiwi fruit has gone from being an exotic import to becoming a mainstay of the North American diet – and along with its newfound popularity has come an increase in kiwi allergies worldwide.