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June 28, 2006

Allergic Reaction of the Mouth

source: Judy Tidwell at About.com

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), a manifestation of food allergy, is an allergic reaction that affects the lips, mouth, and pharynx. It can also manifest in other ways as explained in an email response from a visitor to this site:

"As someone who lives with this disorder, I'd like to set the record straight. It doesn't just affect the lips, mouth, and throat. If the food is cooked, one can generally eat it with seeming impunity. However, serious gastrointestinal distress (i.e, gas) will ensue. One's whole system is allergic, not just the oral area. I'll get a reaction if I have a cut and apple juice gets in it."

Who Is Affected?
OAS normally occurs in people with asthma or hay fever from pollen allergies who eat fresh (raw) fruits or vegetables. It can also affect people who are allergic to shell fish and eggs. Adults appear to be more affected than children.

What Happens?
An allergic response occurs when the over active immune system can not distingish the difference between pollen proteins and food proteins. When the immune system recognizes a "cross reactive" protein, symptoms develop.

Sometimes foods in the same botanical family, will also cause reactions. For instance, potato and carrot; parsley and celery; or apple and pear. This cross reactivity is referred to as clusters of hypersensitivity.

Rapid onset of itching of the lips, mouth, or pharnyx, and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and palate are the most commmon symptoms of OAS. Other symptoms may include gingivitis, conjunctivitis, or rhinitis. In rare instances, asthma or anaphylaxis may be triggered. Symptoms normally appear within minutes of eating the offending food.

Anaphylaxis has occurred in about two percent of people with OAS. The foods involved include lentils, tomatoes, apricost, peaches, pears, cherries, apples, walnuts, and hazelnuts.

Cross Reactivity
Individuals with birch allergy can cross react with apples, pears, almonds, peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, prunes, kiwi, carrots, celery, fennel, parsley, coriander, parsnips, peppers, and potatoes. Hazel nuts, almonds and walnuts are also associated.


Posted by David at June 28, 2006 3:14 PM