Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Foods That May Trigger Pollen Allergies

By Jarrod Breeze
WebMD Feature

Have you ever taken a bite from an apple and felt your mouth get itchy? Did a tasty banana cause your tongue to swell? If so, chances are you have oral allergy syndrome, or pollen-food allergy syndrome as it’s also known. It happens because your immune system can’t tell the difference between proteins in these foods and pollen. The symptoms are usually itching, tingling, and swelling, mostly to the mouth, lips, and throat.

You Can Have It and Not Know It

Recommended Related to Allergies

Blocking Allergy Symptoms: How Pretreatment Works

For lots of people, allergy treatment is reactive. You get stuffed up, your eyes water, and then you go to the medicine cabinet for relief. But many doctors say that we’ve got it the wrong way around. Instead, we should be taking the medicine before we have symptoms. Call it allergy pretreatment. “We always tell people to start taking medicine before the allergy season begins,” says Jonathan A. Bernstein MD, an allergist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati. “People...

Read the Blocking Allergy Symptoms: How Pretreatment Works article > >

Oral allergy syndrome is common, says Robert Eitches, MD, attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  He says he has about 500 patients who have it.

But many who have it don’t know they do. A lot of people with pollen allergies know they can’t tolerate these foods, but they don’t make the connection between them and their allergies, he says.

People find out when their allergy testing is negative for foods but positive for something like birch pollen, grass pollen, or ragweed pollen, Eitches says.

"We’re just learning about the syndrome over the last 5 or 10 years," Eitches says. "I think it’s been around longer than we realized. It’s become more obvious in the last 2 or 3 years."

Who Gets It?

Oral allergy syndrome mostly affects teens and adults, though younger children sometimes get it, too.

In most cases the reactions are mild and don’t last long. Symptoms usually show up right after you eat. But it could take up to an hour.

What If My Reactions Are Severe?

Treat it like a pollen allergy. Antihistamines, epinephrine (for severe reactions) and immunotherapy are three courses of action. But there isn’t a specific medication to treat oral allergy syndrome.

In rare cases, it can cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.  Symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in your throat
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

Call 911 if you have any of these signs.

Your doctor can tell you if you’re at risk for anaphylaxis. He may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

blowing nose
Article
woman with sore throat
Article
 
lone star tick
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Article
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Assessment
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
Quiz