March 13, 2007 8:59am CST
Does your mouth burn after eating certain foods? Do you experience itching lips and tongue or have a runny nose and watery eyes after ingesting fresh produce? If so, oral allergy syndrome may be to blame. I noticed a few years ago that certain foods made my mouth raw and sore when I ate them. Because of this, I stopped eating bananas and walnuts. As time went on, I started to notice that other foods bothered me as well. Apples, cucumbers, potatoes, almonds, tomatoes, and peaches seemed to cause the worst and most immediate reaction. When I mentioned my difficulty to my family doctor, he just shrugged and had no idea as to why I would be having this problem. That led me to search the internet for answers. A simple search of “burning mouth and tongue” led me to several entries explaining oral allergy syndrome. I was surprised to see that my severe allergy to birch and ragweed pollen could be causing me difficulty with the foods that I loved. It seems that your body mistakes the food proteins for the pollen proteins which you are allergic to, which causes the reaction. Many people are able to continue to enjoy their favorite foods simply by cooking the food item. Cooking changes the protein that is causing the reaction. This prevents the body from reacting to that protein. Unfortunately, cooking the foods doesn’t seem to work for me, I still have the same reaction to the foods when eaten cooked as I do when they are eaten raw. One thing that you can do to ease your oral allergy symptoms (it worked for me). Limit your exposure to the main allergen. For me, moving to a rental that did not have a large birch tree growing outside my bedroom window made a huge difference. My body was not able to handle the constant exposure to the birch pollen, so it was reacting to the least bit of protein that I ingested. Once I moved to a different house, I was able to enjoy apples and tomatoes occasionally. I plan to start eating raw honey produced in my area this weekend, as I’ve just discovered a honey shop here. I’ve heard that ingesting the raw honey can help to desensitize you to local pollens. I will let you know how well that works for me.