Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Fall is such a great time of year. It is so fun to see the leaves change colors and enjoy the smells of the season like the traditional hot apple cider. And who doesn't love a warm cup of hot cider in your hands with a splash of cinnamon, right?

Well, I was in the mood for some yummy cider and wanted to make some for my girls and I. So I picked some up at the grocery store to celebrate this wonderful season.

My oldest daughter said she didn't ever remember having apple cider. And when I gave some to her, she said her mouth tasted "yukky." This is her way of saying she is having an allergic reaction. When she tells me her mouth tastes "yukky" I act very quickly. She knows her body and she knows when she is having a reaction.

She didn't seem to be wheezing but said she didn't feel well. I gave her benadryl and then started retracing the foods she had just eaten. The only new food we had was apple cider. She has had apples in the past. I couldn't figure it out. Why was she having a reaction to apple cider?

The following morning she was still complaining that she didn't feel well and now she felt like her throat hurt. Now I was thinking we should head to the Yale Emergency Room. This was a mystery to me. Her reaction carried over to the next day. This had never happened before.

We went to the emergency room and the doctor asked me if I had ever heard of oral allergy syndrome. I had never heard of this condition.

Oral allergy syndrome is when pollen falls on fresh fruits and vegetables. This pollen on the fruits or vegetables can cause an allergic reaction to that food. It doesn't usually occur with cooked foods such as applesauce or apple pie for example.

They monitored my daughter and after she was feeling better sent her home.

The next day we went to see her allergist who tested her for birch. The birch tree is the tree apples are grown on. We wanted to make sure my daughter wasn't allergic to the birch pollen.

Her tests for birch came back positive. The pollen that fell on the apples in the apple cider she had tasted created an allergic reaction. Needless to say, we are staying away from fresh apples now and apple cider. We are going to add apples to our list of allergy causing foods.

I will be making some soy milk hot chocolate this fall season. Oh and roast marshmellows over a fire. What child or adult doesn't love getty gooey with marshmellows? This should make up for leaving the apple cider out of our menu for my daughter.

I am so proud of her. It is not easy to have to give up so many things. She is already allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, sesame, mustard, dust, mold, cats, and now birch pollen.

It is truly amazing to me how the body responds to certain things and in my daughter's case her body reacted to the pollen of the birch tree! Here is a link to more information about oral allergy syndrome for you to check out http://allergies.about.com/od/foodallergies/a/oas.htm

I was a bit perplexed when I was at the Yale Hospital because, the doctor had suggested that the oral allergy syndrome condition is not as severe as a normal ingestion of food type of reaction. But, the information I read seems to indicate that it can develop into a full blown anaphylactic reaction. And I will treat my daughter with the same methods as any other food allergy reaction.

A reaction is a reaction no matter what the cause. And I am not going to try to figure out whether it was an oral allergy syndrome type of reaction or an ingestion reaction.

Enjoy this beautiful fall season. I know we will be playing in the leaves, carving out pumpkins and having a ball with or without apple cider. I will make sure of that.

Stay well, stay safe and be brave.

Debra Denhart

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