Not everybody welcomes the prospect of springtime. Spring can be a touchy season for people with pollen allergies, and for those who suffer from oral allergy syndrome.
Oral allergy syndrome, also called OAS, is not wellknown. However David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and president of the nonprofit organization Turn the Tide Foundation reported on Oprah.com that it can affect 70 percent of pollen allergy sufferers.
As if being allergic to pollen isn't bad enough, these folks also have adverse reactions to some fruit and vegetables.
Not only do their bodies react to proteins in pollen as if they were dangerous, their bodies also react to some proteins in produce as though they were pollen proteins.
As we move into spring, reactions to proteins in fruit and vegetables for these people tend to be more intense as seasonal allergens proliferate.
OAS may begin in childhood. It can also emerge for the first time in adults.
Fortunately, the discomforts of OAS tend to be mild in most cases. Symptoms include itching, swelling, tingling and other irritations to the lips, tongue or throat that come and go.
Not everyone has such mild and temporary symptoms however. A minority of people with OAS may have severe hives. In very extreme cases, anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening, may be the result.
It may not be necessary to completely stay away from produce. Peeling, canning or cooking the food in question may remove the problem.
If this doesn't help, taking antihistamines or other allergy medications before you eat produce that is a problem for you may alleviate the problem. If you need something more drastic, allergy shots for your original pollen allergy may do the trick for the fruit or vegetable in question.
Sublingual immunotherapy is a technique whereby a doctor puts allergen extracts under your tongue to determine what you are sensitive to. While the FDA has not approved this method, some allergists recommend it.
Skin testing can also point out what pollens and foods are a problem for the individual.
An Epi-pen may be prescribed for some sufferers.