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Hay fever and food allergies linked

Category: Allergy Testing

Sufferers of the allergic reaction known as hay fever may need to monitor the foods they eat to prevent further adverse reactions, according to a specialist in the field.

Hay fever victims who express an allergy to ragweed pollen are likely to experience similar allergic reactions to bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, zucchini and cucumbers, Dr Yong H. Tsai of the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Tsai, a board-certified specialist in rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology explains that “the protein of ragweed pollen is structurally similar” to various foods. Therefore, antibodies which react to ragweed “can bind both pollen proteins and structurally similar food proteins” and cause a cross-reaction.

This condition, known as Oral Allergic Syndrome, (OAS) is classified as a pollen-food allergy, and is known to extend to fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Tsai further reports that among adults, 60 percent of all allergic reactions attributed to food can be linked to cross-reactions between the food and an aggravating allergen inhaled by the individual.

Symptoms of this type of allergy include itchy eyes, a runny nose, and difficulty breathing. These affects of cross-reactions may be avoided if the specific foods are thoroughly cooked, canned, pasteurized or frozen.

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