Last summer I learned something new. You’d think that (by then) six years in to the world of food allergies I would know all there is to know about food allergies. And you’d be wrong. And I would giggle at the idea, a lot.
Some people dig in to the research and all of the latest about food allergies as soon as they hear a diagnosis. I chose to dig my head into the sand. As much as I safely could, of course.
All of that changed last summer. It wasn’t a do-or-die situation that brought me around to really wanting to learn about the food allergy world. It was a simple statement by a friend. We were at the pool, she was asking about my son’s food allergies, I was eagerly educating her, and then she says this:
“I’ve got Oral Allergy Syndrome.”
So, in case you were wondering, Oral Allergy Syndrome (or OAS) is a thing. And it turns out, it’s a very real thing. Ever wonder why your friend can’t eat apples, but can eat applesauce, or apples cooked in something (mmm…apple pie)? Yup. OAS.
What exactly is OAS? According to FARE, OAS is a pollen-food syndrome that causes someone allergic to a particular pollen to have a minor reaction to the related food. Take your apple-allergic friend, for instance. Chances are good your friend also has tree allergies (birch, in particular). For those that love their apples but experience the mild itching of the mouth, the good news is that OAS is typically not related to severe reactions.
While it isn’t related to life-threatening reactions the majority of the time, I do recommend you take care with any loved one that has OAS. I now know that I should separate bananas from my fruit when I’m with my friend so she doesn’t have a reaction. And honestly, I’m ok with that. At one time in my life, I may have just brushed it off as unnecessary drama. But now that I’ve got a kiddo with allergies, I realize how great it is when people recognize how food can cause either discomfort and/or a completely unsafe situation. Be a good person and recognize this.
Have you or a loved one experienced OAS but not known what it was? Share with us!
P.S. Curious to learn a little more about Oral Allergy Syndrome? Allergic Living magazine created a handy chart to show what pollen-allergic folks might react to in food.