September 5, 2017

Rare Food Allergies that Really Exist

According to the latest statistics, over 160 food products may cause allergies, and this means that many people react to foods that aren’t standard allergens.

Oral or pollen-food allergy syndrome is a medical condition where specific reactions occur in a throat and mouth from direct contracts with food in sensitized people who have respiratory allergies to such inhaled allergens as weed, tree and grass pollens. This kind of sensitivity to food and inhaled pollens is linked to the similarity of proteins that contain allergens, and it’s called cross-reactivity. Patients with oral allergy syndrome also have allergic reactions to any inhaled plant materials related to proteins in the foods that cause oral symptoms.

Cross-reactivity is documented between mug wort, grass, birch, ragweed and other pollens with a range of legumes, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, herbs, vegetables and spices. Its prevalence and patterns vary because of climatic and geographical conditions. Let’s discuss the most common foods associated with this condition below.

Citrus Allergy

There are different citrus fruits that may cause allergies, including grapefruits, lemons, oranges and limes. Allergic reactions may range from mild, such as an itchy mouth, to very severe, like anaphylaxis. There’s some cross-reactivity between citrus fruits, which means that allergies to one type increase a risk of reactions to others. Besides, birch, grass and other pollens may cross-react with them because of similar proteins.

Apple Allergy

It’s connected with oral allergy syndrome because about 50-80% of patients with allergic reactions to mug wort and birch pollens react to raw apples. Sensitive people often experience unwanted symptoms only within their mouth, and they’re evident within 5-30 minutes after eating specific foods. They usually resolve when people stop eating apples, and serious reactions are possible if throat swelling and breathing difficulty are involved.

Spice Allergy

Such spices as coriander, fennel, caraway and saffron, mustard, cinnamon and some others are associated with allergic reactions. They are some of the most common food allergens, and it seems that cross-reactivity to grass, birch and mug wort pollens are at fault.

Banana Allergy

Allergies to bananas vary, and they include such symptoms as hives, throat and mouth itching, wheezing, swelling and others. These signs are related to oral allergy syndrome, because most of them are localized in a mouth and start within a few minutes after eating bananas. If you have this allergy, you may also have reactions to natural rubber latex, because it’s manufactured from a rubber tree sap that contains similar proteins.

Celery Allergy

This food allergy is common, because celery is top allergen, and about 40% of patients with allergic reactions are sensitized to it. Cross-reactivity to grass, birch and other pollens is clearly identified.

Meat Allergy

This type of allergy is uncommon, but some people have reactions to pork, beef, goat and lamb. For example, red meat allergies to pork and beef are linked to tick bites. These reactions are usually delayed, and they occur a few hours after consuming red meat. The most common symptoms include vomiting, nausea, itching and diarrhea. Anaphylaxis is rare, and people who exercise after eating red meat have a higher risk. If you have allergies to one meat type, you’re most likely to develop reactions to others, including poultry. Small kids with allergies to milk are prone to being allergic to meat too. Delays between consuming meat and allergic symptoms make diagnosing a hard task.

Coconut Allergy

This allergic reaction is quite rare. Coconuts are not tree nuts, so most people with tree nut allergies can eat them with no problems. There are only a few patients with this allergy, but they exist.

Latex Allergy

When patients with allergies to latex eat foods that contain similar antigens, they develop allergic symptoms, and this condition is called latex-fruit syndrome. However, not all patients with latex reactions have this allergy. About 50-70% of people with it are also sensitized to other food products, especially fruits. So, cross-reactivity with bananas, avocados, kiwis, papayas, tomatoes, potatoes, turnips and other types of food is common. If patients with latex allergies have reactions to any specific food, they need to avoid it to prevent allergic reactions from occurring. If they have any doubts, it’s necessary to perform a special oral challenge test under doctor’s supervision to make everything clear.

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