n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - The oral allergy syndrome : more about... paediatric allergy

Volume 28, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Individuals with pollen allergy often report adverse effects after the ingestion of a wide variety of foods from plants. Because of the increasing prevalence of pollen allergy, this association has in recent years gained greater recognition. The clinical effects are usually restricted to the oral cavity and include oral pruritus, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, hoarseness, pharyngitis, and laryngeal oedema. These localised symptoms, caused by fruit, vegetables and spices, have been termed oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) to the aeroallergen cross-react with the proteins in fresh fruit(s) and vegetable(s) to cause symptoms. Symptoms that patients experience are usually mild and do not require immediate medical attention. Rarely, some patients may experience severe and systemic reactions, such as severe laryngeal oedema, urticaria, asthma, or even food-induced anaphylaxis. This variation has resulted in a debate over whether such reactions may be considered a severe form of OAS or, as other authors contend, OAS includes only mild symptoms.

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