Potential fruit allergy/oral allergy syndrome?

I developed hayfever this year and had problems during a fairly intense tree pollen season (first hospital admissions, possibly related). I suspect, though have not had it confirmed, that I'm allergic to birch pollen and possibly others given that I've had the typical symptoms after being near birch trees - though I am a bit clueless about types of trees!

I don't seem to be allergic to grass pollen, so my hayfever and possible asthma reaction died down.

However, in the last few days I've been getting hayfever-like symptoms including general itching, runny nose, watery eyes etc. I couldn't work out what it was but I've just eaten an apple for lunch and after being fine all night/morning (t was bad last night when I also ate an apple) it's come right back, so strongly suspect that may be responsible. (absolute bummer if so, I LOVE raw apples, apple juice etc and it's just annoying enough that I'm not sure I can put up with it when I want an apple).

Bit of googling suggests it might be oral allergy syndrome - it's fairly common if you have hayfever apparently so I don't think I""m doing a classic hypochondriac 'omg I have this rare disease' thing from Dr Google lol. It's apparently most common if you have a birch pollen allergy and apples are a common culprit.

However, couple of confusing points:

-Tree pollen season seems to be over and I was fine with apples before (it's literally in the last few days) so not sure why it's come on now.

-Everything I've seen says you get mouth/throat itchiness/tingling/swelling with this, but I don't get that - just itchiness on arms/legs/head/chest and nose issues.

I'm not asking for medical advice, but just wondering if anyone else had this (on this forum I wouldn't be at all surprised). I will probably mention it to my cons next time I see him when discussing the birch allergy thing, but don't really want to bother GP with it or ask for tests as it seems unnecessary for something that in my case is pretty minor, if it even is that. I just love apples and several of the other fruits/veg listed (peaches and carrots? noooo) and was kind of hoping it wasn't that.

Don't know why this is the year of allergies for me...last year I had a really high IgE and no symptoms, this year it's much lower (probably cos of medications) and the symptoms, plus fun asthma stuff.

10 Replies

  • Hi Philomela,

    Along with many other allergies, I get OAS especially with bananas, carrots and kiwi fruits. I also get it with citrus fruits, papaya, strawberries and pineapple which is related to a latex allergy rather than hayfever. I get tingling lips and mouth which then leads to itchy throat/ears/nose and it is usually very short lived. I first thought that perhaps it was leading to anaphylaxis but it was confirmed as OAS at an allergy clinic. If it is OAS/pollen related then it may come and go around the summer/hayfever season and it doesn't really go anywhere so I can eat raw carrots and kiwi fruits in the winter. I also find that every so often, i will get it witlh another fruit or veg and then it goes. As you say, cooking also helps. The doctor at my allergy clinic said that a lot of people with hayfever will get this syndrome but may not notice it. He doesn't really worry about this but it will be worth mentioning to your cons.

    Everytime I see a nurse or doctor, they always tell me how many people have had hayfever this year even though they haven't had it before. Even with two lots of antihistamines, 2 nasal sprays, eye drops and all the asthma meds (geared to allergic asthma) I have still struggled to the point where the nurse always asks if I am sure I have taken the meds. I'm being referred to another allergy clinic to see if desensitation is an option (although I have been warned they may refuse as lots of allergies make it complicated). Seems to be getting better now though even though I usually go into September (and then the cold season begins). My IgE is always high!

    Hope your lungs are behaving even though the apples are not!

  • hi philomela

    Hope you are feeling better soon, I very often get itchy after eating, normally it's my legs and arms and sometimes my chest, my doctor thinks I have urticaria as I also get a rash, it is quite short lived normally only lasts an hour or so, but I have had it for ages! I also get an itchy throat which has been diagnosed as post nasal drip. I thought at first I had allergies and am allergic to dairy but the itching seems to have an unknown cause. But I hope you are able to find out what the cause of yours is casue it really can be uncomfortable.


  • Thanks!

    Kayla - hope you find an answer to all the allergies, that sounds rubbish! And Lejaya, same for you.

    I'm still confused about the OAS though - thought it was called 'oral' cos it's things you're eating but seems it's because of causing symptoms mainly in the mouth/throat. Which I'm not getting at all - however everything else fits re triggers etc it seems!

    Not a big deal but a bit confusing - why do I always have to be weird with these things?!

  • Apples are high in salicylic acid, some asthmatics follow a low salicylic diet and gives them control

  • Sorry you are not feeling well!

    I would be cautious about jumping to conclusions about the apples (correlation is not causality!) : Several years ago during a particularly bad asthma spring I assumed the culprit was the rather noticeable mold in one room of our apartment (leaking outer wall) and cypress tress. The latter was because every time I walked down a certain street canopied in cypress trees my nose started running like a faucet. As soon as I left the vicinity - my nose turned off and I was as dry as a bell.

    Seems like a definite, yes?

    Well, no. When I was tested for allergies this year I came up clean for both cypress and mold. However, I am terribly allergic to olive trees and moderately allergic to a few other things. I don't know exactly what else on that street was growing along with the cypress, but I didn't look because the cypress trees are the most obvious thing on the street.

    Moral: beware of salience effects - or perhaps grateful if you can track down another cause for your itchiness (so you can keep eating apple!)

  • I'll be extremely grateful if I can track down another cause - preferably something I almost never eat. THe apples seemed the likely culprit because of the timign but also because of the potential (albeit not proven) birch allergy - except for the odd fact that I don't get symptoms in my mouth.

    On the other hand, I am itching like mad this morning, my nose is being a pain and I've not had any apples, juice or fruit of any description so perhaps it's something in my mum's flat - I'm staying there till moving into my new place at the weekend so will have to see what happens there.

    Whatever happens, I think I can be confident the culprit is not olive trees, over here. Very wet leaves, perhaps. Or perhaps I'm allergic to writing up my dissertation ;) (Not serious there; I don't think it's stress-related, never had anything like this before and while I can believe allergies come on suddenly, it would seem odd to suddenly develop an allergic-type reaction to stress when in reality I'm not really particularly more stressed than I have been - though presumably not impossible.)

  • Hi Philomela.

    I've just got back from a holiday so a bit of a late reply. The pollen levels seem to have gone back up in my area, and I'm noticing the difference. You seem pretty confident that it's not grass that sets you off, but there are some other things around atm like ragwort (and other weeds), I don't react to that but do to gorse and heather. The heather has really turned the heaths and moors a beautiful purple in the last couple of weeks. I know there aren't so many heaths/moorlands near you as me but there could be something around that you're reacting to that's only just recently started flowering. Or maybe it's mushroom spores. So many things to chose from, it's no wonder it's such a mine field finding out what triggers are.

    I think everyone has some degree of allergy to dissertations ;0)

  • Thanks Lou, hope you had a good holiday - where did you go? I've just been in Cornwall, came back via family friend in Somerset. Lovely though still had dissertation work to do...

    I defo don't think it's the apples now though it really did seem to be. Still not sure what that was tbh; the reason I don't think grass pollen is it is that I seemed to really struggle during the high tree pollen season but when the grass pollen was high noticed nothing and was getting better. Not sure about weed - officially not allergic but they don't test for everything and also know the tests aren't infallible. Could well be something a bit weird they don't test for.

    Atm I'm struggling a bit - had a small attack Fri night, struggling yesterday lungwise and nose itching/eyes watering. I have a horrible feeling I know what this might be (though I was wrong about the apples): my cats live here and though I was ok with them before wondeiring if I could have developed an allergy? (Really really hope not - again tests said not cats so crossed fingers). Will see how it is once I leave though they both shed like crazy so am sure I will be taking a few souvenirs - but it won't be everywhere and they won't be around.

    Stupid lungs -they were so so good in Cornwall, I was able to go body-boarding in cold water and walk up hills with hardly any probs! Hope this is just a short blip.

    Hope you're getting on top of all the pollen and not struggling too much.

  • Deffo sounds like you're struggling with some sort of allergy. If only these things were easier to work out, I still don't know all the pollens I react to, some are obvious like birch pollen and lillies, others though I think I react to something one time and then another time I don't. I hope your lungs and allergies settle soon. My allergies are fine really, not really suffering, just noticing more if that makes sense. Lungs are a bit rubbish though, sofa surfing atm, although hoping I'll be ok to work tomorrow.

    Cornwall is great, good to hear that lungs were good and you could body board etc. I went to Scotland, the far northeast and several places along the north west coast, finishing on the Isle of Mull, but came home a few days early when lungs were playing up. Found a couple bits of coast which reminded me of Cornwall, although without the crowds. I went climbing on the cliffs at Reiff on the northwest coast which reminded me of Sennen in Cornwall.

    Anyway, I hope you're feeling better soon (and that it's not the cats) xx

  • Don't rule out grass pollen as the culprit. It's my only (environmental) allergen and my lungs are SO much better on the coast as there is considerably lower levels. If you were already in a mess from tree pollen it makes sense that you wouldn't have differentiated from grass pollen - and remember grass pollen starts in April even though its peak is later in Summer before gradually declining.

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