I have atopy, which, in essence, is a pre-disposition to allergic reactions. Recent studies indicate that this atopy is pre-determined in a specific set of genes and chances are that if you are prone to allergies you may also be likely to have asthma, ezcema or hayfever. Unfortunately I have all three and Oral Allergy Syndrome just to top it off.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Oral Allegy Syndrome (OAS) means I have cross reactions to certain foods. In my case when I react to a food I instantly get itchy ears, mouth and throat and often an upset tummy for at least a day.
I’ve had OAS since I was a child, it always felt like some foods just felt “weird” to eat – my parents just assumed I was a typical fussy eater and I never really thought anything of it until I was in my late teens. It was then that I paid more attention and I noticed that all my reactions tended to center around fresh or raw fruit and vegetables.
I started to keep a list and it turned out to be somewhat bizarre:
Small cherry/vine tomatoes
Lettuce – most varieties
Weirdly in most cases I don’t react to a food if :
The food is cooked
The food is skinless
For example, cucumber is fine without the skin, peas are fine without their shell, and lettuce is fine if it is cooked.
But let’s be honest, who has time to peel peas!
In addition to foods I also have other allegies:
Horses – and any other horse-esque animal (think zebra)
Some medications (which I’m not going to list in case any of my exes want to kill me off)
What foods should I avoid if I have OAS
Often people will ask “what foods should I avoid if I have OAS” but that is almost impossible to answer as every person is different in their reactions. There are so many foods that people have identified a reaction to with common ones being:
So it’s best to try foods out and see what you are allergic to, rather than cutting food types out altogether.
What to do if you have Oral Allergy Syndrome
As it stands there is no cure for OAS so the best you can do is manage your symptoms and steer clear of anything that might cause a problem.
Having said that as someone who lives with this day to day here are my top tips:
Always carry anti-histamines – I have some in my car, some at home, some at work, and some in my handbag, if you feel yourself having a reaction take one straight away
Keep a list of things you think you react to and add to it as you go along, you may also find that you are only allergic to some varieties of foods but are fine with others
Don’t be afraid to try different foods in a safe environment – maybe try something you think you might react to at home when someone else is around in case anything happens
Try cooking the food item – if you know you react to something like apples, try cooking them and see if you still react. I often find I don’t react to them when they are processed or cooked.
Try air-frying the food – I have an actifry which I looooove (here’s a blog post if you’re interested) and I often chuck some apples and cinnamon in there as a healthy snack and I also “roast” walnuts and hazlenuts in there for 2 to 5 minutes so that I can eat them
Take supplements to boost vitamins and minerals – I take quite a few different supplements but this will depend on what your own personal allergies are – I recently trialled a green powder supplement to see if my body would tolerate it
Try growing your own – sometimes this is impractical, but I found that eating lettuce from the garden doesn’t cause me to have a reaction – perhaps this is because the pollen in those surroundings are the same that I am in contact with everyday? (just a hypothesis)
Try canned versions – I find I can eat most canned or processed versions of the foods I react to, like apples and mushy peas
Check menus before hand and ask for changes in advance – before I go to eat out I always check the menu to see what options I can have. Salads are a complete no-no for me, so eating out and eating healthy can be a bit tricky. A lot of restaurants have processes to make sure that allergy orders are catered for, but it is worth checking in advance as not all chefs are flexible to change.
Hopefully some of these tips are helpful to you, and let me know if you have any of your own?
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