The apple season starts in autumn, and we eat a lot of apples fresh on their own, as compote or in cakes. Despite its wide range of uses, many people are still forced to banish the popular fruit from their menu, and the majority of those affected are allergic to birch pollen. Dr. Krisztina Moric otolaryngologist, allergist, chief physician of the Buda Allergy Center explained the reason for the connection.
What symptoms can apples cause?
Compared to other allergies, cross-allergy is relatively common among people allergic to birch pollen. This means that if a person with a pollen allergy eats certain foods, they will experience various complaints. Symptoms of cross-allergy can include swelling of the lips, an itchy, burning sensation in the oral cavity, and an itchy throat. Complaints are unpleasant and disturbing, so over time it is typical for patients to avoid eating more and more food due to uncertain symptoms.
In the case of birch pollen allergy sufferers, in addition to apples, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, cherries, apricots, pears, plums, cherries, peaches and potatoes can also cause symptoms.
Materials of similar structure
The cause of cross-allergy is the structural similarity of the substances. In this case, the difference between the chemical structure of birch pollen and apple proteins is so small that the body cannot distinguish between them. In such cases, however, the symptoms of hay fever do not intensify, but the mentioned oral cavity symptoms appear during the consumption of the given food. Complaints can develop at any time during the year, not only during the birch pollen season.
Birch pollen is the most common among people with allergies
Cross-allergy occurs in 5-10 percent of people with allergies, and within this, the number of people allergic to birch pollen is prominent. In their case, it is much more common, its occurrence is close to 30 percent.
Food allergy or cross allergy?
Dr. Krisztina Moric said that food allergy may be suspected in connection with oral symptoms. In such a case, a test can be used to determine whether the patient has a food allergy or a cross-allergy. The IgE-based multiplex allergy test also shows exactly which foods there is a cross-allergy to, so in the future only those foods should be avoided, and the rest should not be unnecessarily banished from the menu.
Can it be treated only with diet?
Diet is indeed one of the possible solutions to the symptoms of cross-allergy, but there is a treatment method that can be used to get rid of the symptoms of pollen allergy and cross-allergy. Allergen immunotherapy provides a permanent solution to allergy symptoms. With a minimum of 3 years of treatment, it can eliminate complaints for up to 10-12 years.
It is important to know that allergen immunotherapy should not be started during the pollen season, but at least 2 months earlier. Therefore, those who are allergic to birch pollen and want to enjoy the benefits of the treatment in the next season, either due to hay fever symptoms or cross-allergy, must start the treatment by January of this year.
Source: Buda Allergy Center
Source: Patika Magazin Online by www.patikamagazin.hu.
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