Dr Manny's Notes

Explaining oral allergy syndrome

Q&A With Dr. Manny: When my sons eat strawberries and apples, their throats itch. Is this some sort of allergy?


We want our kids to eat healthy, but what happens when certain foods are hard to swallow?

We recently got this question from a viewer:

Q: Hi Dr. Manny. Every once in a while, if my sons have strawberries or apples, their throats itch. They’re not typically allergic to these foods. Is this something I should be concerned about?

A: For some people who have hay fever, fresh fruits, vegetables and certain nuts and spices can trigger an allergic reaction that causes the mouth to tingle or itch.

Pollen-food allergy syndrome - sometimes known as "oral allergy syndrome" - can cause these symptoms. In more severe cases, it can even lead to swelling of the throat or worse.

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These reactions are caused by specific proteins found in certain fruits and vegetables, which are similar to the allergy-causing proteins found in pollens.

For example, if you're allergic to ragweed, you might also have a reaction when eating melons. If you're allergic to birch pollen, apples may be the trigger.

Cooking fruits and vegetables can help avoid allergic reactions, but it is important to visit an allergist to get tested.

A recent study showed that about two percent of patients with oral allergy syndrome may suffer from anaphylactic shock, a serious reaction that could be deadly without immediate treatment.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.