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Allergies Health Center

Foods That May Worsen Pollen Allergies

Allergic to pollen? You may want to watch out for these trigger foods.
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Oral sensitivity tends to develop over time, with repeated exposures to pollen. Brucker says most of her patients with oral allergy syndrome are in their 20s and 30s.

Filley's advice: See a board-certified allergist. "It could be oral allergy or could be something more serious," Filley says.

You may get a skin-prick test. A bit of the suspected trigger goes on a light scratch on your back or forearm. If that spot turns red or swells in about 15 minutes, it's an allergic reaction.

Next, the doctor has to analyze the problem. "Either this is mainly oral allergy and not to worry, or this could be more serious and [you need to] take more precautions, such as carry epinephrine with you," Filley says.

A recent study shows that in about 2% of people with oral allergy syndrome, oral allergy symptoms could progress to anaphylactic shock, which could be deadly without immediate treatment like an epinephrine shot (Auvi-Q, Epi-Pen). If a doctor has prescribed epinephrine shots for you, carry two at all times.  

Don’t Eat Trigger Foods

The basic rule: If a food makes you uncomfortable, don’t eat it.

If it’s a favorite food, try these tips:

  • Cook it. Cooking often breaks down or alters the trigger proteins so that the immune system doesn't target them.
  • Peel it. Peeling fruits such as apples may help, because most trigger proteins are in the peel.
  • Can it. Canning also breaks down those proteins.
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Reviewed on November 06, 2012

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