Advice on ‘Real’ Fruit Allergies

Published: September 1, 2010
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Q. I just moved to Toronto from Italy. I was considered “peach allergic” there, but here, my GP says the symptoms are oral allergy syndrome and to avoid raw peaches. But I’m not convinced; I did get hives and throat tightness after toast with a jam (that turned out to be peach). How do I know if this is a “real fruit allergy”?

Dr. Waserman: Oral allergy syndrome is seen in birch tree or ragweed pollen allergic individuals who may develop symptoms on ingestion of certain raw fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts.

Symptoms typically consist of itching, tingling or swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat. An allergic reaction happens when an individual with a fruit allergy eats the foods raw. Once the foods are cooked, they can be eaten safely.

Jams are prepared by heating the particular fruit. If you experienced symptoms after peach jam, you may have a true food allergy to peach, and not just an oral allergy syndrome. I highly recommend consultation with an allergist for assessment and skin testing to help sort this out.

We welcome your question to Allergic Living’s Ask the Allergist. Thank you for understanding that the specialists aren’t able to answer every question received.

Dr. Susan Waserman is an allergist and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. She is also a past president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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