Food and Seasonal Allergies: What’s the Link?

Springtime is associated with warming temperatures, blooming flowers, and for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny noses, among other irritating symptoms. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the link between food allergies and seasonal allergies.

Children with food allergy are 2-4 times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, including seasonal allergies. So compared to children without food allergies, food allergic children may have a greater risk for seasonal allergy symptoms.

Another link between food and environmental (seasonal) allergies is a condition known as Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). In this condition, individuals with seasonal allergies experience an allergic reaction (itchiness or swelling of the mouth and throat) upon eating certain foods. Interestingly, this reaction is not actually caused by a food allergy, although sufferers may mistakenly believe that they have an allergy to a specific food. Symptoms of OAS are caused by a cross-reaction where the body confuses the food protein for an environmental allergen because the two proteins are very similar.

The type of foods that an individual with OAS reacts to depends on the specific type of pollen allergy that they have. For example, individuals who are highly allergic to birch pollen might react to raw peach, apple, pear, kiwi, plum, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherry and carrot. Unlike true food allergies, an OAS reaction often only occurs to the raw form of the food so cooking the foods may help reduce or eliminate the reactions.

Published: 06/03/2014
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