How Common Is Oral Allergy Syndrome?


Is oral allergy syndrome common?

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also called pollen-food allergy syndrome (PFAS), is fairly uncommon. However, it could be an under-diagnosed condition since some people experience OAS symptoms without even realizing they have seasonal pollen allergies. If you think you experience OAS, talk to an allergy doctor at Wyndly today!

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Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a condition that results in an allergy response to eating certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts. People who have OAS are also allergic to certain types of pollen. Their body recognizes pollen as a threat to their immune system, causing it to trigger an allergy reaction. When they eat certain types of foods, their immune system mistakes the proteins in these foods for the pollen they are allergic to.

Oral Allergy Syndrome in Children

Children under three usually do not have OAS. However, they can develop OAS later in childhood or adolescence as they are exposed to more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

If you have a child who has developed OAS, it's important to be mindful of the symptoms they may experience. Most children with OAS will experience symptoms similar to that of an adult. However, the frequency at which they occur will differ based on the child's age and developmental level.

Oral Allergy Syndrome in Adults

OAS is more typical in adults than in children, and most common in people with hay fever. Pollens released by trees, grasses, and weeds cause hay fever, or seasonal allergies. Some of these types of pollen contain proteins that are similar enough in structure to the proteins in certain fruits and vegetables that people with OAS also experience allergic reactions when eating them.

Some of the most common types of pollen associated with OAS include:

  • Birch Pollen
  • Ragweed Pollen
  • Grass Pollen

Things You Should Know About Oral Allergy Syndrome

OAS is likely undiagnosed since some people experience OAS without even realizing that they have seasonal allergies. It's worth going over a few important facts about OAS so that you are armed with the best information about the condition and can recognize it if you experience it.

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

OAS is an allergic reaction to certain fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The proteins in these foods are similar to those found in specific pollen. The immune system of people with OAS confuses the proteins and reacts as though an allergen is present.

An immune response leads to symptoms like irritation of the mouth, tongue, roof of the mouth, and throat, and sometimes more severe reactions.

People with OAS may see their symptoms flare up after eating raw fruits and vegetables. They are also more likely to react if they eat nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, or peanuts.

If you suffer from an OAS reaction, it's important to remember what food caused the reaction so that you can take precautions when preparing that food again in the future.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome?

OAS symptoms are similar to mild allergic reactions and include itching of the mouth, throat, and lips. Other less common symptoms may include abdominal pain and nausea. With OAS, symptoms usually resolve within a few minutes to a few hours.

Unlike food allergies, OAS is unlikely to trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening response. However, if you experience any symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek immediate emergency medical attention.

How to Manage Your Symptoms During an Attack

If you think you have OAS, you can avoid the foods triggering your symptoms. That said, there's usually no need to avoid any foods altogether. People with mild OAS can eat the fruits and vegetables that trigger their symptoms as long as they are peeled or cooked. When eating the foods that trigger OAS, also avoid eating the seeds if possible.

Oral Allergy Syndrome Pollen and Food Cross-Reactivity Chart
 Most Common Season Spring Summer Fall
Types of pollen and foods that may cross-react Trees Grasses Weeds
Pitted fruit
Apple X
Apricot X
Cherry X
Peach X
Pear X
Plum X
Bell pepper


Getting a Diagnosis

You may have OAS if you are experiencing symptoms such as itching, tingling, swelling, or other discomforts in your mouth when you eat certain fruits or vegetables. The first thing you should do is take an allergy test to determine what you are allergic to. There are multiple methods of allergy testing available to diagnose your allergies.

Skin Prick Test

Skin prick allergy testing is the traditional method of testing. A skin prick test is exactly what it sounds like: a doctor will use a needle to prick or scratch your skin, then they will apply a small amount of the allergen to the area.

If you're allergic to the allergen, you'll typically experience swelling, redness, or itchiness at the site. While skin prick tests are effective, they are an uncomfortable experience - and they require a trip to the doctor's office, which can be time-consuming.

At-Home Allergy Test

If you're looking for a more convenient option, Wyndly offers an at-home allergy test that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Here's how it works:

  1. Order Wyndly's at-home allergy test. Easily order our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
  2. Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Our test is accessible and easy to administer - all you need is a small sample of blood, which you can provide via a quick finger prick. Simply mail it back when you're done.
  3. Receive your personalized treatment plan. Once we've received your test results, one of our allergy doctors will interpret them, create an allergy profile, and walk you through your personalized treatment plan.
  4. Get relief from your allergies. With a better understanding of your allergies, you can finally start to get relief and get back to enjoying your life.

Immunotherapy Treatment

If you have seasonal allergy to pollen and want to get rid of your symptoms, sublingual immunotherapy might be the best solution. Sublingual immunotherapy is a type of treatment that involves administering small amounts of allergens under your tongue to reduce your sensitivity. Over time, this exposure allows your body to become desensitized to the allergen, which can help you achieve a lifetime of relief from OAS and your pollen allergy symptoms.

Take Our Allergy Assessment

Though OAS can be mild, it is still a nuisance that can disrupt your life and cause you to experience unpleasant symptoms. At Wyndly, our allergy doctors will help you identify what is causing your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan to get you long-term allergy relief.

Take our quick online assessment to find out how Wyndly can help you beat your allergies!

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