Fall allergy symptoms like an itchy throat, watery eyes, and sneezing that we usually blame on ragweed could also be the result of eating fruits or vegetables that are first cousins to pollen. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is associated with pollen allergies and has its own set of trigger foods.

What’s behind it are protein similarities in pollen-producing trees, grasses and weeds and related fruits and vegetables. Some of the foods included are popular this time of the year, like apples, tomatoes and cantaloupes, may contribute to OAS.

Individuals with OAS can also minimize or avoid symptoms altogether by doing a few simple things:

    • Avoid the food that is causing symptoms,
    • Bake or microwave the food before eating – this breaks down the allergic protein and then individuals are able to tolerate it, and/or
    • Peel the skin off fruits that cause symptoms.

You can learn more at www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20846709,00.html#produce-with-pollen-like-proteins. If you are a school nurse and want to learn more about allergies’ impact on students with asthma, email jsimms@breathepa.org.