A Closer Look at Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome, or OAS, describes a reaction that allergic rhinitis sufferers experience when eating certain foods. Although most people don’t think about the foods they are eating when they have allergic rhinitis, there actually is a close connection for many allergy sufferers. If you think you could be suffering from OAS, talk to your allergy doctor to find out if you are experiencing cross-reactivity. Here is what you need to know about OAS.

What is OAS?

If you have allergic rhinitis, you may notice that your mouth or throat feels scratchy when you eat apples or celery. This reaction is a symptom of OAS and occurs because the proteins in certain fruits and vegetables mimic the proteins in pollen. Therefore, if you experience an allergic reaction to pollen, you could experience a similar reaction when you eat foods that contain that protein. This kind of reaction occurs in up to 75% of adults who are allergic to birch tree pollen.

What are the symptoms?

Most OAS symptoms are mild and involve itching and small amounts of swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. These reactions may occur as soon as you come into contact with the fruits and vegetables that trigger your symptoms, or they may occur up an hour later. In rare cases, people with OAS experience anaphylaxis, which requires immediate emergency attention.

What are the treatment options?

The best way to avoid OAS is to avoid the foods that trigger your symptoms. Because the reaction only occurs with raw food, cooking the fruits and vegetables can help. In some cases, your allergy doctor may recommend medications or allergy shots, if your symptoms are severe.

If you think you could be suffering from OAS, make an appointment with an allergist at Allergy & Asthma Specialists for diagnosis and treatment. To schedule a visit with an allergy doctor in Doylestown, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Bluebell, Lansdale, Jenkintown, Pottstown, and Collegeville, dial (800) 86-COUGH, extension 2.