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Anyone who suffers with a pollen allergy knows all about the irritation, but that increases if you also have allergies to certain foods. Here, we’ll explain the details of cross-reactivity allergy issues, and what you can do to reduce the risks and effects. Get ready to learn all about oral allergy syndrome, birch pollen cross-reactive foods, the potential of nut allergy cross-reactivity and latex-fruit syndrome.
What is cross-reactivity?
When our immune systems recognise pollen and similar proteins in food, this causes an allergic reaction – essentially a cross-reactivity allergy. A double whammy of food-pollen cross-reactivity, if you will!
The simple way to find out if you suffer from cross-reactivity is to get tested. So, if eating certain foods causes additional symptoms alongside the usual sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes triggered by pollen, give your doctor a call and they’ll be able to help.
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For someone who suffers with an allergy to pollen, cross-reactivity may occur as a result of eating certain fruits, vegetables or nuts. This cross-reactivity allergy is often referred to as oral allergy syndrome, and there are plenty of common links between certain types of pollen and foods.
That’s the science bit over with, now let’s look at examples of what these links are, starting with an oral allergy syndrome birch list.
Oral allergy syndrome
- Birch list. The list includes vegetables such as carrots and celery, herbs like parsley and coriander, and fruits including apples, peaches and pears. In addition to that, there can be nut allergy cross-reactivity from almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts.
- Mugwort list. Just like birch pollen, cross-reactive foods are common with mugwort too. This list includes watermelon, cucumber and celery.
- Ragweed list. Bananas, honeydew, courgettes and honey are among the foods listed in the ragweed section of the oral allergy syndrome chart.
Although slightly different from a pollen allergy, latex-fruit syndrome is another condition that sits within oral allergy syndrome. People who have an allergy to fruits including kiwis, tomatoes, avocadoes, mangos or bananas may be at a higher risk of developing an allergy to latex – gloves, balloons – whatever form it takes.
What you can do
The obvious answer is to avoid anything that might cause an allergic reaction – but that’s not always possible. Hopefully, the following tips could help you out when it comes to dealing with oral allergy syndrome:
- Heat or fully cook your food. The change in temperature can be enough to kill off the allergen.
- Peel fruit and veg. Often the skin is the main source of the symptom-causing proteins, so removing that may remove the risk of reaction.
There you have it, our guide to cross-reactivity allergy, oral allergy syndrome and latex-fruit syndrome. Now that you have the information, you might recognise the symptoms and be able to reach out for ways of preventing and managing the symptoms.