Friday, April 20, 2007
No Cantaloupe in Springtime: food allergy cross-reactions
As I was having a conversation with a friend who was experiencing hay fever symptoms, I remarked to her that she should be careful when eating cantaloupe! Why, you ask? Because my allergist once warned me that ragweed and cantaloupe are related and you can have a food allergy cross-reaction; that people with ragweed allergies often experience mild food allergy symptoms (even if they don't have any other traditional food allergies) such as a tickle or scratchiness in the throat, rashes on the lips, etc. when eating cantaloupe. Because it is a spring fruit, this symptom usually occurs about the same time when most ragweed and other pollens are in the air, so the body is already under attack. It may also explain why you react to some foods, but only during certain times of the year. Isn't that nuts? But it would explain a lot.
It made me think about other cross-reactions that could be out there that us food allergic types should know about. This was IMPORTANT. Why don't our allergists provide us more information like this? *sigh* A quick search on Google (bless them) turned up the following list of allergies/food cross-reactors:
Ragweed:cantaloupe (and some other melons), camomile, honey, banana, sunflower seeds
Birch:apples (although sometimes cooking the apples helps) hazelnut and other nuts, pear, cherry, walnut, almond, plum, kiwi, potato peel, tomato and carrot
Latex:apple, avocado, banana, carrot, celery, cherry, chestnut, coconut, kiwi, mango, paprika, strawberry, potato, tomato, pineapple, papaya, eggplant, wheat (This is called latex-food syndrome. Latex is natural rubber, and this is a whole topic unto itself!)
Grass:beans, green peas, potato, melon, tomato, watermelon, orange, cherry, peanut
Peanuts:legumes, grass, wheat, corn
This is by no means a comprehensive list. But it should get you thinking and paying attention. I think I'm going to start keeping notes to keep track of what's what, and when. I'll try to update this list when I can.
In the meanwhile, be safe, people.