Can't Eat Raw Fruits or Vegetables? You Might Have Oral Allergy Syndrome

woman holding three apples in an orchard, up close, one green and two red
via Unsplash

An apple a day makes you go to the doctor because raw apples are terrible.

Oral Allergy Syndrome: How It Affects Raw Fruits & Vegetables

I have not consumed a raw carrot or taken the bite out of a juicy honey crisp apple since I was a child. I have to discard the celery stick from my Bloody Mary or pick out pear slices from a salad. If I accidentally take a bite out of a peach or chomp on a cherry my tongue, throat, ears, and eyes become itchy, inflamed, and very uncomfortable. I instinctually try to clear my throat over and over again and if I could, I would take a back scratcher to the roof of my mouth. This, is because I experience symptoms from Oral Allergy Syndrome, which occurs when I eat raw fruits or vegetables. Don't cry for me yet, I can still eat carrot cake, apple pie, and cherry flavored ice creams (wow, they were all dessert examples, how fun!) due in part to what happens when said fruits are cooked down. Allergy seasons have become increasingly worse year by year which also means allergies to food will have a greater impact on those suffering from OAS.

What Is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is, "is an allergic reaction in the mouth following eating food. It is a type of food allergy classified by a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, nuts, and vegetables that typically develops in adults with hay fever".

via Allergy Easy

What Happens If You Have Oral Allergy Syndrome?

OAS is not life threatening but it is annoying. Consuming raw vegetables or fruits like apples, peaches, celery can cause discomfort in the mouth or throat. Itching, tingling feeling can occur and it is not fun. Some warning signs to be aware of are:

  • Swollen mouth, lips, tongue, throat, or even ears

  • Watery, itchy, eyes

  • Running nose and sneezing

What Causes Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Pollen. We have pollen to thank. And not just "oh I get allergies in the Spring" pollen issues, it's a full time job avoiding raw fruits and vegetables. OAS happens, "because your immune system can't tell the difference between proteins in these foods and pollen".

What Fruits Can Cause Discomfort for Oral Allergy Syndrome Sufferers?

Various strains of pollen are found in various foods! So if you know want to know specifics on pollen and how it affects your food, see the the nifty chart below:

via Allergic Living

Is There a Cure for Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Not really. Some people say you can microwave raw foods before consuming them. Additionally, peeling the exterior of a fruit or vegetable might rid the food of any pollen proteins.

Visiting your doctor or an allergist might give you more answers, albeit ones you might know the answers to already. Taking antihistamines or oral steroids may help with relief. Washing your nose out in the shower or with a nasal spray may help you day-to-day as well. But from one sufferer to another, knowing what fruit and vegetables to avoid and pushing them around on your plate, or picking them out of your salad, is your best bet.