Symptoms include swelling in the mouth and throat
Cases of oral allergies to fruit and vegetables are rapidly increasing, according to a British specialist.
Dr Pamela Ewan, an allergy consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said the rise in cases appears to be outstripping even peanut allergies.
Dr Ewan, who sees more than 8,000 people with allergies a year, said most patients with reactions to fruit and vegetables were youngsters. Symptoms include swelling in the mouth and throat, and breathing difficulties.
She said: ‘We have seen a big rise in the number of cases in the past four to five years. It is a bit like the peanut allergy was the epidemic of the 1990s. I think fruit and vegetables are becoming the epidemic now.
‘Now we are seeing people who are getting really severe throat closure, a significant swelling at the back of the throat which can impede breathing.’
Other specialist centres in the UK have confirmed that allergies to fruit and vegetables is a growing problem. Dr Adam Fox, a consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, said: ‘We are certainly seeing lots of oral allergy syndrome which affects people who are actually allergic to pollen – such as birch pollen.
‘There is a cross-reactivity between the protein in that pollen with those in fruit and vegetables, so people start getting a reaction to fruits such as apples and pears.’
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