Allergies are a touchy subject to many. When people think of allergies, they probably are thinking about environmental allergies; ragweed, hay fever, etc. As you might know, you can grow out of them as you age or you can acquire them later in life. While these types of allergies may seem to be more common, food allergies can be just as problematic. Symptoms can be slight burning of the mouth or throat and in rare circumstances lead to more severe situations like respiratory issues. The technical term for this type is Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).
Typically, this syndrome is not seen in children and is more prone to gradually make an appearance in adolescents or adults. In this case, the reaction occurs while eating fruits or vegetables. Fortunately, OAS does not usually interfere with the respiratory system. Rather, swelling and itching of the inside and outside of the mouth and face are the normal reactions. Oral Allergy Syndrome is more of an uncomfortable annoyance than a life threatening emergency. Although, approximately 10% of the time, it can affect respirations and might require a shot of epinephrine.
The reason why OAS seems to rear its ugly head while people eat fruit or vegetables is because they are usually ingested in their raw form. It is strange, but the first time someone is exposed to an allergen they rarely show any effects. It is only after your body has encountered a substance that it will develop antibodies against that substance (in this instance, food). The second time that person ingests that identical food, their body might show minor inflammation or a rash near or inside the mouth.
As always, someone with a weak immune system will have more trouble fighting anything health related. It is known that 80 percent of one’s immune system happens to be in the gut. What you eat is important, because it fuels your bodily defenses.
Someone might ask, “How can I avoid or minimize this from affecting me?” There is an easy solution for you. Do not eat anything raw that burns your mouth or makes your lips tingle in a painful manner. I know what you are probably saying… “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” Well, sometimes the obvious answer is the best. Although, peeling the fruit or vegetable can help minimize the reaction; since most of the proteins in those foods are found in the skin and it is the proteins that cause Oral Allergy Syndrome in the first place. Another small note, if the digestive system in the stomach does not completely destroy the allergen, stomach cramps and diarrhea are signs to look for.
Most people love fruits and vegetables! If any of these symptoms seem familiar, be cautious and try to pay attention to what your body is telling you. A delicious apple might make your taste buds happy, but the rest of you may be reacting otherwise.
Vince works with clients to provide them with the policies that best fit the needs and budgets of the individual and their families thus protecting them, their families, businesses & assets from catastrophic events. Specializing in Health, Life, Medicare, Accident,Vision, Dental and Critical plans.
Vincent J. Spinelli
Licensed Insurance Agent