While I may be 17 years old, I didn’t realize that your mouth wasn’t supposed to get itchy when you eat fruit up until a few months ago. About 50% of the time when I eat certain fruits, such as apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and more, my mouth starts to itch and tingle. I’ve known that pineapple causes tingling in the mouth due to certain enzymes, so I assumed that the same concept applied to other fruit. But after sharing what I thought was a normal experience with a friend, I quickly realized that getting an itchy mouth after eating fruit was anything but normal.
I know that the internet is a crazy place and you’re not supposed to self-diagnose, but I brought my suspicions of having oral allergy syndrome up with my allergist, who confirmed my suspicions. She explained to me that it isn’t uncommon for a person with numerous severe environmental allergies, such as myself, to develop oral allergy syndrome, or OAS. OAS is a type of allergic reaction that’s confined to the mouth, lips, and throat from cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits or vegetables. Certain spices and nuts can also cause this type of reaction, something I found particularly interesting as someone who also has a tree nut allergy. In the case of someone with a birch tree environmental allergy, they may have a cross-reaction with almonds, although they aren’t actually allergic to the proteins in the almond itself.
While oral allergy syndrome continues to be a part of my life, it won’t stop me from my love of eating fruits. I have a big sweet tooth, and fruit is a healthy way to fulfill my cravings. If the itching and tingling get bad, I’ll stop eating it temporarily. But I’ll always continue to safely keep trying and not let myself be limited by my allergies.