Friday, August 9, 2013

Weird Allergy

In the last two years or so, I've noticed that whenever I eat certain fruits, my throat becomes really itchy. It mostly happens with peaches. Right after eating the fruit, my throat gets itchy and sometimes almost feels like it's closing up a bit, which is a little scary. It usually goes away in about five minutes. Needless to say, I've avoided peaches.

Yesterday I took a bite of an apple though and I got that same itchy, uncomfortable feeling in my throat. I IMed my mother about this and said that I thought I had some sort of allergy to certain fruits.

Mom: I think you are imagining things.

Me: Dunno, I've been getting this for like two years

Mom: It sounds neurologic.

Me: You mean it sounds psychological?

Mom: Yes.

Me: You always say that. Like when I was allergic to the mold in your bathroom and you kept telling me it was psychological, then you cleaned the bathroom and I was fine.

Mom: But you grew up here. And all of a sudden you couldn't stay in the living room.

Me: Because you had MOLD!

Mom: It is not that long after though.

Me: Well, maybe I got accustomed to the mold when I was living there, then I lost my resistance. Or maybe the mold got worse.

Mom: Maybe a combination.

(You could literally SEE mold growing on the walls of the bathroom. My husband was horrified.)

I then looked it up on google, which informed me that I may have Oral Allergy Syndrome. Apparently, this is something where if you are allergic to pollen, you can also be allergic to the proteins in certain fruits that resemble pollen. From the description, it sounds like just what I have. Especially since I don't get this symptom from applesauce, which is processed.

It sounds like apples, peaches, cherries, and pears are some of the most common, which is consistent with my symptoms.


  1. Sounds too familiar.

    I had that with strawberries for a while, but I suppose it got 'better'. Contact allergy.

  2. Yes, my mom has this. I'm afraid I'll develop it---apples are my fall/winter go-to fruit,then peaches and cherries in the summer. I once had a scary reaction with grapes---but have had grapes later without a problem. I think it was some fungus on the grapes (they were old, and I found some white stuff on them the next day).

  3. Oh man, mold?? Man, that's disgusting. Open your bathroom door after a hot shower so that the walls can dry up and mold doesn't grow in your bathroom.

  4. Wait - Doctors Google symptoms and dx themselves too?

  5. Does it happen with organic fruit? Peeled fruit? I wonder if it could be some sort of surface treatment that causes it...just a thought, especially since you can eat applesauce.

  6. I can't have apples or Rainier cherries anymore. They both make my nose run, eyes swell up, and then I start having breathing problems. This is a new problem, it started a couple of years ago.

    If you really have oral allergy syndrome, you should be able to microwave the fruit until it is hot, allow it to cool, and be able to eat it. The heat supposedly affects the protein that causes the allergy. Please use a search engine for more information.

  7. I have Oral Allergy Syndrome. I can't eat kiwi or cantaloupe. Other melons affect me, too, but not as much as cantaloupe. It's really miserable because it used to be insanely difficult to find a doctor to diagnose it, though it's become easier. I wish I had the peach/apple/cherry type because I don't like those fruits but I LOVE melon and kiwi. It's quite the bummer.

  8. I've known two people with this! They referred to it as a "thin-skinned fruit allergy". And yes, apparently cooking/heating the fruit prevents the reactions.

  9. I've always heard that combination of allergies referred to as "birch pollen fruit allergy." I know a few people with exactly the same thing. They all got it in their 20's-30's and outgrew it in their 40's-50's and are fine as long as the fruit is cooked. It has nothing to do with organic vs. conventionally grown.

    My weird allergy... I'm allergic to excercise :) In all seriousness, sometimes when I walk or jog, my legs get so itchy that I'm crying in the street. Happens to my arms when I'm riding a bike. Something about the vibration maybe? I'm a 20 something physically fit person and have been laughed off by every doctor I've mentioned it to (I'm a family doc in Canada myself)


    1. It's a total histamine reaction because of unstable mast cells. Try antihistamine supplements (Quercetin for instance) or meds (chromalyn or any other antihistamine). After a while, it won't do that.
      By the way - love your name :)

  10. ER Nurse the blog...(its almost given me some sympathy for the residents I see stroll in, and slump out at the end of their shift--haha!)
    Im 29, and Ive noticed in the past few years that Ive developed some weird food allergies too. Peaches, apples, celery, hazelnuts, and cherries-- so far!
    I did some research....seems to be a connection to plants that are pollinated by birch?
    I cut up black cherries last summer to saute with brandy to put over icecream, and my fingers swelled to twice their size!

  11. I'm a doc too and googled the same thing a few years ago after having itchy mouth, sensation of tongue swelling and came up with the same for my own symptoms - for me: fleshy fruits - apples, peaches, plums, melons, cherries, whereas citrus, grapes, berries don't bother me as much. It's not so severe that I avoid the fruit completely but rather just limit quantity as it's more bothersome than anything with small amounts.

    And yes I've also noted, freezing or cooking the fruit helps, probably has to do with denaturing proteins or something like that, and washing, peeling, organic fruit, home grown, etc have no effect whatsoever despite what my mother tried when I was younger when she thought I was just being a picky eater.

  12. Kiwi fruit is my nemesis. Itchy mouth and throat. Swollen tongue and lips. On a side note, there are murmurings out there that people with kiwi allergy may have a latex allergy as well. So far not in my case though.

  13. I have similar experiences to this, though it almost seems dose-related, especially when tomatoes, grapes, and cherries are involved. I don't know if I've really identified the offending fruit, but being something of an atopic hay-feverish person, it's interesting that there's a relationship. In any case, I get a scratchy, itchy throat and ear itchiness/fullness. It tends to resolve fairly well with an anti-histamine.

    Another weird allergy I've heard of comprises mangoes, bananas, apples, kiwis, and similar stuff, all of which are associated with an initial latex allergy. I've seen it more than once in patients with shunts for hydrocephalus (and multiple procedures related to them).

  14. I doubt your symptoms are of a supratentorial nature. Do you also have pollen allergy symptoms? Why not consult an allergist to consider immunotherapy (a.k.a. allergy shots)? I'm not an allergist, but I've seen this treatment help several patients with oral allergy syndrome.

  15. That happens to me too! What works for me is peeling the apple--I think it might be the pesticides used? Give it a try, you never know why might work.

  16. I've seen it with all the stone pitted fruits - apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines etc. Heat will change it so that it's not an issue. It's definately a bummer. By the way, almonds are also a pitted fruit so that can also cause people problems with this allergy.

    By the way Mold is terrible! Totally immunosuppressant. I've seen 2 people get herpes meningitis after being in toxic mold environments. Imaging instead of a cold sore you get meningitis and you can understand the terribleness of this one.

  17. Or you have still Medical students syndrome............... after all those years

  18. I love how even the doctors use Google to self-diagnose :-)