Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Food Allergies – Oral Allergy Syndrome

Dr. Kuriakose and Dr. Mainardi hosted a roundtable discussion at Hudson Allergy last night, to discuss the topic of summer food and alcohol allergies. The goal of the roundtable event was to provide free education to the community, and a safe, supportive environment where people can come and ask questions. While our roundtable topic was Summer Food and Alcohol Allergies, one of the main things we discussed oral allergy syndrome, or OAS, as it’s related to food allergies.

According to Wikipedia, oral allergy syndrome is defined as a type of food allergy classified by a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

OAS is perhaps the most common food-related allergy in adults. OAS is not a separate food allergy, but rather represents cross-reactivity between distant remnants of tree, grass or weed pollen still found in certain fruits and vegetables. OAS is typically seen in tree and weed allergic patients, and is usually limited to ingestion of only uncooked fruits or vegetables.

Another term used for this syndrome is '"Pollen-Food Allergy."' In adults up to 60% of all food allergic reactions are due to cross-reactions between foods and inhaled allergens.

One of the types of questions that the doctors are often asked is, “If I am allergic to apples, why don’t I get an allergic reaction when I eat an apple pie?” The answer to this question has to do with the fact that people are allergic to the protein that is in the raw fruit. But, once it’s cooked, the protein changes it’s properties and thus the allergen you are allergic to is no longer an issue. This is not always the case, but there are some people who are allergic to raw peaches but can eat a peach tart because the fruit is cooked.

The roundtable was very interesting to say the least. Most of the people who attended the event were fascinated by the notion that oral allergies do exist and how they are related to pollen allergies.

Food allergies are still relatively unknown among much of the general public, and this is one of the main reasons behind our roundtable discussions: To educate the local community.

This event was just the first of many and we look forward to publishing a calendar that will outline our monthly events and topics.

If you have any questions about oral allergy syndrome or other food related allergies, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Additionally, if you would like to suggest a question for us to discuss in one of our future events please let us know.