Oral Allergy Syndrome
Austin has always claimed that certain foods make his mouth itch. Thankfully, this is not related to his peanut allergy which could potentially involve an anaphylactic reaction. Instead, it’s an annoying mouth itch that is strong enough to dissuade him from wanting to eat a food, but has little other consequences. A few years ago, he figured out that his weird mouth itching actually had a name and was a documented occurrence called oral allergy syndrome.
This is from Wikipedia:
“Oral allergy syndrome or OAS is a type of food allergy typified by a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, nuts, and vegetables that typically develops in adult hay fever sufferers. 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 inhalative allergens.
In OAS, the immune system produces antibodies that are capable of binding to both pollen proteins and structurally similar food proteins. Consequently, the same immune system response can trigger allergy symptoms in two different situations: hay fever (in the presence of pollen) and food allergy (in the presence of certain foods). Histamine releases from mast cells located in the oropharynx, gut and skin when IgE binds to the molecule causing local inflammation – itching, swelling, pain, and so on.”
In plain English, this means that a protein in a lot of uncooked fruits and vegetables is similar to one of the pollen proteins that Austin is allergic to. So if he eats one of those similar proteins, his body’s antibodies fight them and trigger a histamine (allergic) response in his mouth. Thankfully, this response is minor, at least for Austin.
Tomatoes, cut cucumbers, lettuce… all those don’t bother Austin, but green peppers and carrots don’t work on salads in our house. Any peeled fruit doesn’t bother Austin, but the last thing he’d want to do is bite into a crisp apple in the fall, or a peach in the summer. It makes apple picking with him funny, because the whole point of the expedition is to eat apples, right?