I’ve been struck recently by how many people have mentioned being allergic to a plethora of raw fruits and vegetables. My ears perk up when I hear that people mention that it’s only a problem with raw foods and often mention apple skins.
What many people don’t realize is that they may have a condition called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Similar in so many ways to food allergies, Oral Allergy Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as food allergies yet it is different in a few key aspects:
1. The reactions are mostly in the mouth and throat thus the name “Oral” Allergy Syndrome
2. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis are very rare when having the mouth/throat reaction
3. The allergic reaction happens and/or is strongest during hayfever season
4. The affected individual can eat the same item cooked that they react to raw (i.e. can have applesauce but not raw apples)
Often, the individual affected has birch/ragweed/grass allergies and often has a tree nut allergy as well.
Because Oral Allergy Syndrome can have such a huge effect on diet, it’s very important to diagnose it properly so that the affected person can have a better understanding of why they’re reacting and how they can manage it. Rather than avoid all fruits and vegetables, specific foods are often the culprit and can be added back into the diet if cooked and properly prepared. It’s definitely worth a discussion with your trusted medical provider.
Health Canada has a very good resource explaining Oral Allergy Syndrome at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/information-for-consumers/fact-sheets/labelling-food-packaging-and-storage/food-allergies/oral-allergy-syndrome/eng/1332351950134/1332352076501