Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) - An alternative reason for trouble swallowing (dysphagia)

October 17, 2017

So you get itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing, and you say I know this is North Texas. I've got allergies, but then your mouth, tongue, and throat start itching after that delicious guacamole, watermelon, or an apple. What could that be? Am I allergic to all these foods? This reaction occurs because the proteins found in these plant-based foods are very similar to those found in pollen. This confuses the immune system and can cause a cross-reaction resulting in oral allergy syndrome. This is a form of contact allergic reaction causing itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue and throat usually immediately after eating the culprit food. It is generally considered a mild form of food allergy. Rarely, this can cause severe throat swelling leading to difficulty swallowing, breathing or progressing into anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). Most of the allergens are acid- and heat-labile, whatever food is swallowed is typically rapidly degraded by digestive enzymes and gastric acid. Most patients can tolerate the cooked or processed versions of the foods triggering symptoms. 

 

Managing your symptoms:

-avoid eating these raw foods, especially during high allergy season

-peel the food before eating may be helpful as well

-some studies have shown that treatment with allergy shots (with pollens not the actual food allergens) can improve the symptoms of OAS. 

-You may react to different foods based on what type of seasonal allergies you are affected by.

 

Here is a list of possible pollen and plant-based food cross-reactivities:

 

 

 

If you think you may be experiencing Oral Allergy Syndrome, contact your board-certified Allergist today for an evaluation so we can help you manage your symptoms.

 

 

Dr. Eric Kavosh is a Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist. He sees patients in Plano, TX at Clear Allergy, Immunology, and Laser Center, and you can learn more about his practice and request appointments via his website http://planoallergydoctor.com/

 

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

 

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog is intended for Informational Use only and is not intended to replace personal evaluation and treatment by a medical provider. The information provided on this website is not intended as substitute for medical advice or treatment. Please consult your doctor for any information related to your personal care. 

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STUART AKERMAN, MD

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