Fruit Allergies and OAS

Fruit allergies and OAS go hand in hand.  OAS stands for Oral Allergy Syndrome and refers to allergic reactions to fruit, nuts and vegetables.  This tends to develop in adults with hay fever otherwise known as seasonal allergies.  The correlation doesn’t seem to make sense but fruit grows in and on the earth which is also surrounded by the wonderful pollen that can affect so many allergy sufferers.  The production of antibodies associated with hayfever interact with parts of the fruit to cause the fruit allergy reaction.

Tree pollen seems to be one with a bigger association with fruit allergies but according to Wikipedia grass pollen and ragweed pollen can also be culprits.  Since the reaction is associated with the allergic reaction to the pollen fruit allergies may not be as dramatic outside of the times when we experience seasonal allergies.

Though there are not that many suffer from fruit allergies the impact for those folks can be significant.  Think of all the nutritional advice regarding increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetable for better health.  Those with oral allergy syndrome are limited to the amounts of these nutritious foods they can eat since the symptoms are quite uncomfortable and possible deadly.

Usually you can easily tell whether you are experiencing a fruit allergy because the reaction is fast.  The symptoms can also be quite dramatic with swollen lips and itchy throats.  The more severe fruit allergy reactions can range to anaphylaxis which can cause asphyxiation.  Wherever the fruit comes in contact with your mouth and throat are areas that can react including your tongue.

Though some of the nutrients in fruit and vegetables can be “cooked away” it seems that cooking fruits and vegetables minimizes and even eliminates your fruit allergies.  Processing the food also seems to do the same with canned fruits  and applesauce as examples.

The good news for some fruit allergy sufferers is that just because you are allergic to one type of fruit like oranges does not mean you are allergic to all.  As stated earlier Wikipedia shows a correlation between the type of pollen you are allergic to and the fruits and vegetables that may cause you fruit allergies.  An allergy to ragweed for example may make it more likely that you will react to bananas and different kinds of melon like watermelon.

Fruit allergies are treated like many food allergies with the primary approach being to avoid the food that is causing the problem.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are at least easy to identify unlike some other food allergy triggers that are found in many foods.  Also in this case at least you can have the fruits and vegetables cooked.  Otherwise you may want to consider allergy shots to manage your fruit allergies.  They basically train you until your allergic reactions are tolerable for you.  The nutritional benefits may be worth it to you.

Managing Your Sun Allergies

Sun can cause allergiesSun allergies can be confused with many things both relatively ranging from benign to actual life changing diseases.  When most people get a rash after being out in the sun they think that maybe they have a sun burn.  Even if they only spent a little time in the sun they may make that assumption.  Sun allergies can also cause hives and more scary looking rashes so in that case one might confuse them with actual sun poisoning.  The truth is though that sun allergies do exist so if you seem to be getting rashes after exposure to the sun you need to investigate if you actually have them.

Sun allergies come in different forms and are sometimes called photosensitivity.  They are classified based on whether they are hereditary or not, what may cause the actual reaction and the severity of the sun allergy symptoms themselves.  Polymorphous Light Eruption or PMLE occurs mostly in women and is associated with an annual rash that occurs in the spring when the sun allergy sufferer first spends time out in the sun.  Actinic Prurigo is the hereditary form of PMLE.  Photoallergic Eruption is the one associated with chemicals on the skin being exposed to the sun and lastly Solar Urticaria is the one with more severe reactions like hives. As you can see sun allergy symptoms can range from mild itchy red rashes to intense rashes like hives.

Sun allergies are usually treated with topical creams like Benadryl but some severe cases require prescriptions so it may require a visit to the dermatologist or allergist.  Keep in mind that scratching your rashes will only make it worse and can possibly cause scars.  Depending on how severe your case your primary care doctor would refer you to one of these specialists.  They will also advise you on how to manage your sun allergies.  Avoiding the sun whenever possible is of course obvious and using sun block and protective clothes when you need to be in the sun are also helpful.

Proper diagnosis is also very important because some people with photosensitivity can have other conditions that are causing them.  A good example of that is the disease lupus which has symptoms that include rashes after sun exposure.

With the increase in skin cancer sun worshipping has definitely decreased yet tanning beds have actually increased in popularity.  If you have a sun allergy odds are you will have a tanning bed allergy as well.  Both are caused by photosensitivity and are treated the same way.  Most cases of sun allergies last only a short time after stopping your exposure to the sun so if that is not the case you definitely should consult a doctor.

Beer Allergy – Say it Ain’t So

mug of beer for allergy article

Are you allergic to beer?

Do you think you have a beer allergy?  If you don’t know a lot about how beer is made you may think it doesn’t make sense but beer is full of a bunch of different ingredients that can possibly cause an allergic reaction.  If your symptoms have been relatively mild like congestion and a runny nose odds are if you really like beer you can basically just ignore your beer allergy symptoms.  If your symptoms have been more dramatic then it’s time to investigate your options.

There are many kinds of beer nowadays.  No longer are you stuck with Miller, Michelob and Coors.  Beers have gone upscale in many cases with many folks preferring beers like Amstel Light or Sam Adams just to name a couple.  If you are of Irish descent(or not) you may appreciate a good old Guiness now an then.  This doesn’t even cover the breweries that make their own ales.  This makes the job of identifying what causes your beer allergy that much more difficult.

There are a few allergens that can be causing your beer allergy:

  • Hops
  • Barley
  • Yeast
  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Sulphates

Keep in mind that a beer allergies are not that common but if you suspect one you need to look at the above ingredients in your diet for clues.  Beer is flavored with hops and sometimes even fruits so it may not be the obvious brewers yeast that is causing your beer allergy.  Wheat allergies and gluten allergies have also increased of late so those may be culprits as well.  Malted barley is also a big candidate since those with pollen allergies may have barley as a trigger.

The symptoms of a beer allergy can be mild like a congested or runny nose but sometimes the allergic reaction can be more severe like those who suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome.  In that case the beer allergy symptoms can include a swollen tongue and lips, tingling face and hives. Symptoms can include dizziness, coughing, tightness in the chest and even a white coating on their tongue.  Those with a brewers yeast allergy will exhibit symptoms associated with yeast allergies in general.  These could include a sore throat, nausea, sneezing, diarrhea, heartburn, rashes on the skin and possibly stomach pain.

Treating your beer allergy will depend on how severe it is.  Mild symptoms probably don’t require much since the symptoms usually disappear by themselves.  Those with asthma type symptoms really need to consult with their doctor since using antihistamines and adrenaline injections may make symptoms worse.  These types of symptoms can be life threatening since they can lead to anaphylaxis.

As rare as a beer allergy can be it may even require hospitalization with a host of aggressive treatments that could include intravenous fluids, bronchodilators, steroids and adrenaline.  Hopefully if you do experience beer allergy symptoms they will be mild and manageable with over the counter meds like antihistamines(if asthma isn’t present) or nasal sprays for your congestion.  Sadly the simple and straightforward solution might be to pass on that pint of beer completely.

Treatment of Peanut Allergy Evolves

Recently there has been a lot of news coverage regarding a new treatment for peanut allergies.  A study of children with peanut allergy has been conducted by Dr. Wesley Burks of Duke University Medical Center.  The initial study was small at 33 children with the main approach being oral immunotherapy. The children were challenged  with increasing small amounts of peanuts over an 8-10 month period on a daily basis.  5 basically ended up being totally free of their peanut allergy.  Here is a video which shows one of the successes.

I have seen some other reports that have also discussed how oral immunotherapy can be used in the same way to desensitize those suffering from milk allergy.

Please keep in mind this should not be done at home.  It was done as part of a supervised medical study.  Until bigger studies are done and it is approved for use for your allergist it is still advised to continue to “treat” your allergy by avoiding peanuts.

For more on immunotherapy review our post on Allergy Shots.

Allergies and Christmas Toys

As the Christmas holiday nears and I am looking at what gifts to buy my children I found myself thinking about how my choices may affect the allergy level in our house.  I know it is sad but since we all suffer from some form of allergy or another it is something that enters into many of our day to day decisions.

My daughter is 8 and loves animals and has wanted a dog since as long as she could talk.  We definitely can not have a dog because of dog allergies so that got me thinking about the popular realistic toy animals that are out there on the market.

One of the most popular Christmas Toys for 2008 is the Biscuit the Dog Toy otherwise known as Biscuit my Lovin Pup.  My daughter has requested this toy and I am seriously considering it.  She has the least allergies in our house and has over 20 stuffed animals.  If your child has an allergy to dust mites stuffed animals are not a good idea.  Though you can manage them by cleaning the stuffed animals regularly or freezing them as some doctors recommend I would not add this complication to your life.

The Biscuit the Dog Toy is a little on the high side but you can currently save $30 if you buy through Amazon link below.

Fur Real Friends Biscuit My Lovin Pup

My Lovin Pup

I have narrowed this holiday gift idea to between this dog and the cheaper Fisher-Price Puppy Grows and Knows Your Name which is currently offered at a $21savings.

Fisher-Price Puppy Grows and Knows Your Name Tan

Puppy Grows and Says Your Name

Seasonal Allergy Hell – Not Your Imagination

Have seasonal allergies affected you this year? I was looking at the latest videos posted regarding allergies and found a recording of Robin Roberts from Good Morning America talking about what appear to be pollen allergy statistics for 2006. Though the data is dated it got me thinking about how the last few years have been particularly hard on me and my kids for spring allergies.

We live in the Boston area and in the video it talks about the worst and best cities. Boston was the worst that year. I found a new report for 2008 for the Worst Cities For Allergies provided by Forbes. Boston is down to 59 out of 100 but I found their measurement method interesting. They factor 3 things:

  • a pollen score
  • a medicine utilization score
  • a score based on number of Board Certified Allergists per Patient

Boston scores above average for number of allergists per patient. In the older video it talks about warmer winters being the culprit and we indeed have experienced those in the NorthEast.

I find the Forbes list interesting but as with any study potentially flawed. Though Boston has dropped in standings many seasonal allergy sufferers are treating themselves nowadays with over the counter medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec. Pharmacies even offer cheaper versions with similar ingredients that I have tried and worked for me. Our higher allergist ratio also suggests to me that patients may have identified their allergies with their allergists in years past and are now educated enough to help manage them.

Whether you believe in Global Warming or not it is not hard to see the changes in our weather patterns will continue to affect seasonal allergy sufferers. As the allergists in the older video mention visiting your allergist to pinpoint your exact allergies can help, especially if the over the counter allergy medicines don’t work for you. Also be sure not to confuse cold medicine with allergy medicine. Allergy medicines contain antihistamines which cold medicines do not.