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What is the cross-reactivity of food allergies?

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If someone has a life-threatening allergic reaction to a certain food, the doctor will counsel the patient to avoid similar foods that might trigger this reaction. For example, if someone has a history of allergy to shrimp, testing will usually show that the person is not only allergic to shrimp but also to other shellfish like crab, lobster, and crayfish. This is called cross-reactivity.

Another interesting example of cross-reactivity occurs in people who are highly sensitive to ragweed. During ragweed pollination season, these people sometimes find that when they try to eat melons, particularly cantaloupe, they have itching in their mouth and they simply cannot eat the melon. Similarly, people who have severe birch pollen allergy also may react to the peel of apples. This is called the "oral allergy syndrome."

From: Food Allergy and Food Intolerance WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Fact Sheet: Food Allergy and Intolerances."  UpToDate. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 29, 2018

SOURCES:

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Fact Sheet: Food Allergy and Intolerances."  UpToDate. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 29, 2018

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What does a differential diagnosis mean for food allergies?

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