What is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

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fruits and vegetables

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome (O.A.S.) or Food Pollen Syndrome?

Food Pollen Syndrome is a localized allergic reaction in the mouth following the consumption of food. Have you ever experienced swelling of the lips or a scratchy throat after eating certain fruits, vegetables, or nuts? This may be an indication of O.A.S., also known as pollen-food syndrome. The immune system identifies the part of the food that is similar to the pollen and elicits an allergic reaction. O.A.S. affects up to 70% of people with a pollen allergy.

Foods that cause O.A.S.

Apples Cherries Pears Tomatoes Zucchini
Almonds Hazelnuts Plums Bananas Strawberries
Carrots Kiwis Melons Cucumbers Avocados
Celery Peaches Oranges Sunflower Seeds Peanuts

Diagnosing O.A.S.

An allergist can conduct allergy tests and examine your history of symptoms to diagnose O.A.S. If you are allergic to pollen, there is a reasonable probability that you may experience oral allergy symptoms. Note that you should not attempt to diagnose yourself with O.A.S by eating the trigger foods above; you should be in a safe, clinical setting under the care of an allergist.  Your allergist may want to do a challenge to certain foods in the office based on your allergy test results. Your allergist may prescribe an epinephrine auto injector like epipen or Auvi-Q in certain situations if they are worried about the possibility of a life-threatening reaction.

Managing symptoms/treatment

If you suffer from pollen allergies, it is best to avoid the foods that cause O.A.S. While most symptoms of O.A.S. are mild, they can become a severe allergic reaction. If you can’t avoid your favorite foods, there are other ways to reduce your symptoms:

  • Cook, can or heat your food. O.A.S. is usually triggered by raw foods. Cooking your food may eliminate the allergens.
  • Avoid the outer layer of fruits and vegetables. The protein that contains allergens is usually concentrated in the skin.
  • Contact one of our allergists to receive an individualized treatment plan. 

If you are concerned about O.A.S., the allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers have access to the latest allergy testing and immunotherapy treatment. We offer services at our many convenient allergy and sinus clinics throughout Manhattan:
Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, Upper East Side, and in Queens: Glendale and Hollis.

We are here to help! Call (212) 686-4448 to book your appointment today.

Meet the Physician Collaborator

Dr. Nejat is an allergist and immunologist that specializes in hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, and food allergies. He is board certified with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Board of Pediatrics. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Nejat by calling 212-686-4448.