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Food Allergies/i think i m allergic to some raw food



i m 37 yrs. female. i went to a Dr who did an IgE test and said it was high.

I think i have an allergic reaction when i eat some vegetables and fruits raw.

Could you please tell me how i can get the nutrition from vegetables and fruits since i am afraid to eat them raw.

i have had this problem from 2003. i suddenly get hives and my body itches. then i stop eating my usual food and start eating stuff like oats, clear chicken soup, milk etc and after a few weeks i get back to normal.

recently after 2 years from the last attack, i got attacked again. it usually starts with a itchy feeling on my palms or fingers etc and then after few days i find hives all over my body. when it gets in to a bad situation it lasts for weeks.

now after controlling my food for a week or so i m back to normal.

today i had semi raw green leaves (Thebu (Costus speciosus)) and i feel slightly itchy. so this is why i think raw things affect me.


ANSWER: There is such a thing as Raw fruit sensitivity. They may sometimes also react to certain vegetables such as celery. The majority can take the same things if they are cooked. For example, people allergic to the juice of fresh fruits can still take canned orange juice because the canning process involves heating.

That your total IgE is high only means your are more at risk of the problem.

This sensitivity cannot be diagnosed by laboratory tests, or by allergy skin-tests using  standard extracts. But it can be using the fresh fruit or vegetable. It is done by pricking the relevant foodstuff and using that to perform the usual form of allergy skin prick test. Since your IgE has been measured, I assume there will be some doctor who is conversant with this method. Details in the medical literature may be found under the keywords Fresh Fruit Syndrome, or oro-pharyngeal syndrome.

I hope this helps.

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QUESTION: Thank you for your answer. I m from Sri Lanka. We don't find many places that do Allergy testing.

I 'suspect' all these food items give me hives.  i ve written the worst ones first. i think i need to eat a substantial amount for my body to trigger a month long hives attack.

Could you pls. tell me if you find any similarity in these food.

1. Salmon tinned fish
2. Some types of sweets that have alot of colouring. like the Indian sweet Jalebi.

So i think something they put in this food affects me.

The vegetables and fruits that i suspect are:

1. green gram ( Vigna radiata)
2. Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
3. cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale)or peanuts (Arachis hypogaea)
4. Leek (Allium ampeloprasum L.)curry
5. Ladies fingers ( Okra / Abelmoschus esculentus Moench)curry
6. Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)curry
7. Green Apple
8. Some types of bananas

i think cabbages too.

Thank you.

ANSWER: Firstly, chronic hives can commonly be prevented using a non-sedating antihistamine. It does need to be taken on a regular basis. I do not know the trade names by which they are sold in Sri Lanka, but the international name of a couple are Cetirazine and Terfenadine. Any pharmacist should know.

If these are taken daily and it is working, continue to take them every day for at least 3 months. If this not stop the attacks, then add an H2 blocking antihistamine like Cimetidine or Ranitidine. It does seem that if the skin is kept clear for that length of time, the problem settles.

Some people with chronic hives do react to benzoate preservatives in food; as well as azo-artificial food dyes such as tartrazine. They are usually red or yellow, but one is green. I do not know if your food regulations insist these are listed on labels. In Europe it is a legal necessity. But knowing how many foods in India have lots of these additives, I rather guess that Sri Lanka may be similar. PARTICULARLY SWEETS!

See how you go and then if necessary, get back to me.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you very much.

just one more thing please. you have not commented on my fruit and vegetable list. do they have similar charachteristics?  or not?

apologies for so many questions. thank you again.

There is nothing in common between the foods to which you think you react.

Your second email suggests you have something called Chronic urticaria If that is so, your problems are not allergic. Chronic urticaria has no confirmed cause. It may sometimes be triggered by a very mild virus infection which has gone unnoticed. It commonly goes away on it's own within about a year. It is characterised by intermittent attacks that looks, but is not, allergic. It is quite often mistaken for food allergy. People can look for an assumed allergic cause and gradually omit all sorts of foods that they took before the last attack. Some can avoid so many foods that they can start to suffer from malnutrition. Warning: Blaming multiple foods can be dangerous!

If you do have chronic urticarial (as I think most probable), it should come under control with the treatment I have advised. The apparent reaction to the preservatives and dyes when that occurs is not an allergy in the true sense of that word, but is an "Idiopathic pharmacological reaction". It is uncommon for people with CU, but it definitely occurs now and again.

Often it comes under control by the drug treatment I have advised. If it is completely controlled, then do not stop that suppressive medication for a minimum of 3 months. Please don't ask me how or why, because I don't know, but if it is kept totally suppressed for that length of time, it tends not to come back.

Extremely rarely, CU can be associated with an underlying medical disorder. But if you are otherwise quite well, that's unlikely in your case.

It depends on quite how high your IgE level is. But if it is over a couple of hundred get checked out for tropical helminth (worms) infection. They can be just in your gut but some get into your system. I am sure your local doctor will be better aware of such infections frequent in your area than I.

Again. If you still have problems after trying my advice, get back to me.

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David Pearson


Any in the field I believe. Only experience of questions that get asked will tell.


I am a retired medical academic from the UK. I have done major research on Food Allergy and have been a government adviser in the area. 30 years experience running an allergy clinic. And undergraduate and post-graduate teaching.

Well, apart from the FRCP, I'm no longer active in the area. I'm too busy writing books. And I no longer have the cash to go to international meetings. But was active in many.

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