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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Recently, I blogged about kiwi allergies and it got me thinking about oral allergy syndrome vs. food allergies. The distinction between the 2 is an important one. 
True food allergies can be life threatening,  OAS  is not. I interviewed Dr. Robert Cohen to learn more about the topic.

Kosher with Food Allergies Interview Series
Interview #1 Oral Allergy Syndrome, Dr. Robert Cohen

What's the difference between OAS and a food allergy?
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is caused by tree and weed pollen, not an allergy to the fruit itself. When tree and weed pollen allergic individuals ingest produce from those corresponding pollen groups they exhibit OAS symptoms (itchiness of the mouth or throat). If these individuals were to be allergy tested for the fruit they reacted to their testing would rarely be positive for that food. 
What are the most common culprits for OAS? 
For those allergic to ragweed pollen, approximately 25-50% of them will have OAS symptoms upon ingestion of gourd foods including melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew) as well as raw eggplant, zucchini, and ripe  bananas. For those who are highly allergic to tree pollens, symptoms may occur when eating apples,  peaches,pears, and almonds.
What should a person do if they don't know if they have OAS or a true food allergy? Most individuals elect not to eat the offending fruits and vegetables due to the mouth and throat symptoms which occur. Although generally not dangerous and short-lived, the symptoms of OAS are very aggravating. It is important to know that symptoms generally do not occur if the foods are well cooked. The heating process makes the food less allergenic. 

Can Oral Allergy Syndrome be outgrown?
Yes, it is certainly possible

Dr. Cohen is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He was the senior partner at Georgia Allergy & Asthma, formerly The Allergy and Asthma Center, L.L.C. which he founded in 1986. Dr. Cohen was also the founder of DataQuest Clinical Trials, and served as its Director of Clinical Operations. In addition,  Dr. Cohen served as the staff allergist for The Georgia Pediatric Pulmonary Associates, the largest pediatric pulmonary practice in the country. He was twice recognized by The Best Doctors in America: Southeast Region. Dr. Cohen now lives in Israel and practices medicine in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He brings to Israel his vast experience and the patient centered approach to which many in the Anglo community are accustomed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the information!!