Certain foods can trigger seasonal allergies

April 12, 2013 3:01:17 PM PDT
If you have allergies, you know this is a bad time of year.

And it's not just the pollen outside you need to worry about.

Some of your favorite foods could suddenly make you sick by triggering your seasonal allergies.

This is different than just a food allergy, where you're allergic to the food itself.

This is for people with pollen allergies. Certain foods can cross react and make your symptoms worse.

Celine Mogelnicki has battled seasonal allergies her entire life.

"The tree pollens and the grass pollens, I do notice I tend to sneeze more, my eyes get puffy," said Mogelnicki.

And when she eats peaches and cherries, she notices more symptoms.

"I can take a couple bites, and after a couple minutes I start to feel like my lips and the inside of my mouth is tingly," she said.

It's called oral allergy syndrome, where the proteins in certain fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts mimic pollen.

"The body can't tell the difference, so the body goes on alert and starts to attack. releasing histamine and other things that cause the itchiness of the throat and worsening of allergy symptoms," said Dr. Cliff Bassett of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York.

The symptoms may seem random, but it coincides with pollen counts.

For Celine, eating fruits bothers her most in the spring and summer.

"Even someone who's drinking hazelnut as a flavoring in their coffee, the hazelnut may cross react with some pollen and you may have a full blown allergic reaction or feel like your allergies are out of control," said Dr. Bassett.

He says this affects more than half of all people with seasonal allergies, including him.

So what do you do if you think it affects you?

"We do skin testing to fresh fruits, vegetables, spices and nuts as well as fresh food testing where you actually ring in the food, and we scratch the food onto the skin and in some cases we do oral food challenges," Dr. Bassett said.

Get tested to make sure it's not a more serious allergy, and so you don't avoid foods and fruits you don't really need to.

You can also peel or cook the fruit, but most people don't want to do that.

Some of the most common foods that react, if you have a birch tree pollen allergy: cherries, peaches, kiwi, apples, and carrots.

If you have a grass allergy: tomatoes, melons and oranges.