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Resource Center: Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral Allergy Syndrome is an allergic reaction that specifically affects the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. Patients who experience Oral Allergy Syndrome, experience a specific response to raw fruits or vegetables. Typically it is seen in patients who also have hay fever. The reaction is an itchy or scratchy mouth. The allergy is caused not by the fruit or vegetable itself, but the pollen that can cross over to proteins in the food. Oral Allergy Syndrome sufferers can consume the same fruits or vegetables as long as they are cooked. The heat needed to cook them breaks down the proteins that cause the allergic reaction. Another name for this is pollen-food syndrome.

When can we see this start?

Most Patients have been eating these raw fruits and vegetables for a long time with no symptoms. Age of onset is usually older children/teens/adults.


Symptoms are local to the mouth or face. Occasionally a patient may have itchy ears or swelling of the lips, but main symptoms are itchy mouth, throat, and gums.

Difference between raw and cooked foods

Allergic reactions are not caused by cooked foods, only by raw fruits and vegetables.

How can this be treated?

Some patients may take Benadryl but most will find the symptoms self-limiting.

This is an incomplete list of common pollen-food associations*

  • Ragweed pollen: cantaloupe, cucumber banana, echinacea honeydew, watermelon, artichoke, zucchini, dandelions, hibiscus or chamomile tea
  • Birch pollen: apricots, avocados, bananas,[10] carrots, celery, cherries, chicory, fig, coriander, fennel, almonds, nectarines, apples, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, prunes, , peppers ,soy, strawberries, wheat Potential: walnuts
  • Alder pollen: cherries, pears, hazelnuts, peaches, parsley almonds, apples, celery
  • Grass pollen: fig, oranges, melons, tomatoes
  • Mugwort pollen: carrots, peppers, sunflower, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley
  • Possible cross-reactions (to any of the fruits and vegetables listed above): citrus (oranges, lemons, etc), berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc), grapes, mango, pomegranates, watermelon, figs, peanut, pineapple.

Contact Us

1030 St. Georges Avenue, Suite 200
Avenel, New Jersey 07001 [map]
In the “Eastern Dental Building”

(p) 732-636-8844 (f) 732-634-3498

Office Hours

  • Tuesdays (1:00pm - 6:00pm)
  • Thursdays (1:00pm - 6:00pm)

We accept same-day appointments (based on availability).