Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media

Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Allergies Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

It Might Be Your Allergies

By Staff Editor
Aug 23, 2016 - 4:14:30 PM

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

( - Each fall, as ragweed releases its pollen into the air, people with seasonal allergies start sniffling and wheezing. But the problems don't always stop there.

"For some people who are allergic to ragweed, if they eat a banana, their mouth starts to itch or their throat can feel like its swelling," says Mary C. Tobin, MD, an allergist at Rush.

The reason? These people have pollen food allergy syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome. This means they experience allergic reactions to certain fruits and vegetables that contain proteins similar to those in allergenic trees and weeds.

For example, people who have birch pollen allergies might react negatively to carrots, celery, apples and peaches, while those allergic to ragweed may need to avoid melons and tomatoes in addition to bananas.

People often consume these foods in combination with others, of course, and the reactions they trigger can vary widely and mimic the symptoms of other conditions. As a result, it's not always easy to identify the condition and link the culprit foods with the symptoms they cause. But doing so, Tobin says, can lead to effective treatment.

Identifying symptoms

Unlike common allergies to foods such as peanuts and tree nuts - which most often appear in early childhood - pollen food allergy syndrome typically develops in adolescence or adulthood, after repeated exposure to the cross-reacting pollens.

Tobin estimates that the condition, which can appear suddenly, afflicts about 50 percent of adults with seasonal allergies and accounts for about 60 percent of all allergic reactions to food in adulthood.

But many people with the condition might not realize they have it because these reactions aren't limited to the hives and itchy mouth commonly associated with allergies. Reactions can also include neurological problems, such as migraines or trouble concentrating, and array of gastrointestinal issues.

"We have a lot of people who come in with nonspecific abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramps or incapacitating gastrointestinal problems," Tobin says. "And we've found that in many of these people it's allergies that hadn't been recognized as part of their allergy symptoms."

Finding treatments

To determine which allergies are causing which symptoms in each patient, Tobin and several colleagues - including a gastroenterologist, a pathologist and a dietitian - track and experiment with patients' diets in addition to conducting any necessary tests.

This process can be complicated because patients often have reactions to more than one food. Someone who gets hives from bananas, for example, might get cramps after eating cantaloupe.

The good news for these patients is that simply treating their seasonal allergies can in many cases solve gastrointestinal issues and other problems they might not have known were related.

"If the foods causing the problems are cross-reacting with pollen, you can avoid those foods, take antihistamines, and a lot of the time, you get better," Tobin says. "For someone who has been suffering from these problems that hadn't been explained, that can be life-changing."

It's not always easy to identify the condition and link the culprit foods with the symptoms they cause. But doing so can lead to effective treatment.

Pollen-related food allergies

Pollen food allergy syndrome may cause people with allergies to the following pollens to react to the related foods:

  • Birch tree: apple, carrot, celery, cherry, fennel, kiwi, parsley, peach, pear, plum
  • Grass: celery, melon, orange, peach, tomato
  • Ragweed: banana, cucumber, melon, zucchini
  • ###
  • For advertising/promo please contact Mike McCurdy at [email protected] or 877-634-9180

Top of Page

Latest Headlines

+ Reducing Peanut Allergy Risks in Children
+ A Little Preparation Means Sending Your Allergic Camper Off with Confidence This Summer
+ Guidelines Support Telemedicine as an Effective Tool for Allergists
+ Want Romance This Valentine's Day? Help Your Sweetie Avoid Allergy and Asthma Triggers
+ Allergens Widespread in Largest Study of U.S. Homes
+ Heads-up on Holiday Allergies (VIDEO)
+ Identify Six Genes Driving Peanut Allergy Reactions
+ Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Linked to Reduced Allergy Risk
+ Asthma and Food Allergies Predictable at Age One
+ Allergy Amplifier Implicated in Asthma Also Intensifies Food Allergy

Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions