Food Allergies/allergy

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QUESTION: I was allergic to peanuts and pollen when I was younger (and may still be). Sometimes when I eat apples I get this strange feeling in my mouth and sometimes my ears itches a bit. What should  I do?

ANSWER: I'd like to know your current age. However you almost certainly have "Fresh Fruit Syndrome", sometimes called "Oro-pharyngeal Syndrome" in parts of Europe. This usually comes on in the late 'teens or early twenties. Someone who has/had seasonal allergic rhinitis (Hay Fever or similar)one day bites into some form of fresh fruit and immediately gets allergic symptoms in the mouth and/or throat. Very often such persons go on to develop similar reactions to other fruit as well. There is no predictability in which individual fruits do this. It is rarely severe and I have never heard of systemic allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis occurring due to it.

I know this sounds trite, but the best and simplest remedy is - Don't eat apples! However, the fact of the matter is, is that there is no treatment which will change the situation, apart from taking antihistamines to suppress the attack. But, the agent in fruit that does this is chemically very labile (i.e. it breaks down very easily). Therefore Fruit juice which has been canned/pasteurized/concentrated etc does not affect most people. Also in the case of apples, individual apple types can behave very differently from others. In other words people can react only to specific apple varieties. Check it out by comparing them. Plus, my daughter (who has it) says she can eat apples that have been well chilled in the refrigerator. Please let me know if this works for you.

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

QUESTION: Peace!
You asked about my age: I am 24.
One happy solutuion for me is too eat apple pie because the symptoms doesn't really appear. Yummy tummy!
Apart from having unpleasant symptoms when eating apples is there any other bad things happening to my body?
and is this something that I need to bother my doctor with?

Answer
At 24, you are exactly the right age to develop this condition.

Your description of being able to eat the same food cooked is also very typical. You have confirmed the diagnosis by stating these facts.

What to cheok out for? Mainly that at your age it is quite possible that you will develop new allergies to other raw fruits and possibly some foods generally considered vegetables (celery is one). In general, the level of severity in all their reactions seems much the same for each individual person. In my own review of such cases there was no evidence of any significant cross correlations to allow any predictability of who will develop which.

Why I mentioned celery, it is because whatever the responsible agent is, in celery it is not so heat-labile and can therefore cause reactions when cooked.

Frozen "Fresh" fruit also seems generally safe. I know of no evidence that the victims of this condition have a shortened life expectancy!

Good luck. Get back to me if you still have concerns.

Food Allergies

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David Pearson

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Publications
Will 120 scientific papers help? Chapters in books. Patient advisory materials. Magazine articles. TV appearances. Live and recorded. National and international invited lectures, etc. It was my job for 40 years. Do you think I count!

Education/Credentials
MD, PhD, Postgraduate Diplomas etc. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. etc. But I don't want that put out on the net! Just to let you know!

Awards and Honors
irrelevant.

Past/Present Clients
Too many to count, patients of course and a large number of all sorts of corporate consultancies and considerable work as an expert witness in the Courts. I'm volunteering because your Greek expert has been so helpful, I thought I'd offer something back.

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