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.

The FAQ

18 comments:

allergicmom said...

Have you seen the huge list of food families? I find it very useful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I experience the latex-banana allergy. I have trouble with cantaloupe and began researching it tonight. I found your site and I appreciate the insights. I cannot even walk by an organic cantaloupe without getting hives so I know it's not the pesticides(which I am allergic to.) We just had a party where I needed to have a cantaloupe in my house and cut it up myself. I had my husband wash it and pat it dry before I handled it. By the time I was done cubing it, I was congested and my eyes were watering. I take an antihistamine every day but still react to cantaloupe.

Anonymous said...

This has been so very helpful and explains a lot! I am very sensitive (in a skin way) to the world around me in general and take 2 different allergy medications a day. Lately, I've been eating tons of melon, mostly cantaloupe, and afterwards my throat burns and feels scratchy, and my lips feel plump (maybe I could market a lipgloss out of this!). I've also been getting hives lately which had been completely masked by the massive ammounts of allergy medications and even some steroids. Thank you do much for this information :)

Anonymous said...

I find this interesting. Recently I've started eating a slice of cantaloupe every morning. After about 4 days I actually don't need Mucinex or Benadryl etc., any more! So either my symptoms weren't allergies or it has the reverse effect on me.

allthistruth said...

Thanks for this blog post! Although it was posted some while ago I found it while doing a google search. I had my first allergic reaction to cantaloupe & watermelon today, even though I'd eaten both fine in the past. Well, in the past they'd given me a slightly itchy throat but today the reaction was BAD. So, I guess it might be because of the whole ragweed & spring thing. I will make an appt. with my doctor soon! Thanks for this info :)

Anonymous said...

I thought I was crazy, everytime I eat cantalope I get SO sick. The problem is, I love Cantalope and over the past few years I experience stomach pain after I eat it. Last night at a BBQ, I ate a fair amount and paid for it all night. It felt like razor blades in my stomach and all the way down. Glad I googled it this morning, Thanks!

Jeanne said...

Lately my allergies have been awful. I am on my second cantaloupe, but now know I'm not crazy after reading other's remarks. The juice made my skin itch when I cut it (now I realize what it was) and my throat has been getting scratchier over the past two weeks...I'm not buying any more cantaloupes for a while...

Michael said...

Thanks for the info about cantaloupe. I have some of the same symptoms after eating them the past few years - itchiness in my ears and swollen lips. The strange part is that it doesn't always happen, which is why it was hard to pin down.

I have been in a 3-week battle with hives off and on, and just as I thought they were gone, I had several fruits high in vitamin C (cantaloupe, orange) and by that afternoon they were worse than ever. After thinking back, I can now recall having similar problems when taking higher doses of vitamin C, so I'm not sure if it's just the cantaloupe or vitamin C, but at least now I know there are others with the same problem.

ahrensm said...

I am looking this up because my saliva glands have swollen twice after eating cantaloupe and I was looking for info on cantaloupe allergies. Do you think swollen glands can be an allergic reaction? After reading your sight, I believe it is the culprit! Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

My son broke up with rash after eating cantaloupe. He also has allergy to grass. Thanks for this article!

Food Allergy Queen said...

Glad this was helpful. Allergic reactions to fruit could be either from cross-reaction (like with ragweed), and oral allergy syndrome where the mouth gets itchy.

Anonymous said...

I ate two slices of cantaloupe this morning and experienced palpitations, the sensation of blood going up to my head, throbbing in my ears, numbness of my lips, nose and throat. My eyes became bloodshot. I drank 50 mg of Benadryl. I thought I was going into anaphylactic shock. As you can tell the medicine helped. Funny thing is I had two slices last night without a problem. What gives?

christina said...

Thx for this blog post. I had five pieces (cubes) of cantelope at my parents house on Easter and had a mild reaction to them ... thining it was just an allergic reaction to their cats I took my daily dose of Xyzal early <--- this medicine rocks and is so much better than Zyrtec! Anyway, at the time my throat was very itchy, heavy sneezing and sinus pressure went away with an hour. Well, the very next day I ate half of a cantelope and landed up in the Emergency bay of Care Now. My face and hands turned bright red and swelled up huge, my throat was swollen and it was hard to breathe. I developed a rash on my arms and legs that had wheals and was bright red. The doctor said that after my first symptoms occurred on Easter Sunday that I should not ever have eaten more cantelope b/c each exposure the reaction increases exponentially. Boy, was she right! After an Epinephrine and Benadryl shot and a script for Zantac 150 (it's a histamine blocker?) and Atarax (like benadryl but stronger) I was sent on my way. I cannot stress hard enough .. if you have minor symptoms do not expose yourself anymore! Hugs! Christina

Anonymous said...

Are these previous posts from today ? I just see times posted only.
Today is 5/10/2011.
Mid-February I developed oral reactions to almonds (I think peanuts too)....maybe tomatoes, but on another day I had 2 slices of lemon in my restaurant water, which I always have, but NO tomatoes & got the same oral reaction of a swollen tongue 2 hours later.
Trying to figure these first-time experiences out!! Also had a little runny nose on left side only, 5 days in a row last week....

Anonymous said...

the past 3 times I ate melon (once a honeydew, then a cantelope and then and orange flesh) i have had SEVERE stomach pain. intense hurting and burning, enough to make me sit there taking deep breaths and holding them and moaning. i am convinced without a doubt i am allergic to melon. i love it and unfortunately will not be eating it anymore. it doesn't help that each of those 3 times i at a half of a melon. today was the orange flesh, i was fine but then an hour later in pain for at least 2 hours, then i had pooped 3 times and now trying to sooth with a bowl of rice. ugh.

Anonymous said...

As a child I had seasonal hayfever but no food allergies that I knew of. In my twenties the hayfever decreased but skin conditions of various types increased (canker sores, little blisters on my fingers that would flare up, etc.). Then a few years ago, about age 45, I developed a wheal on my cheek when I took Advil after years of uneventful usage. No more Ibuprofen or correlates. In recent days we've been eating a lot of melons, and during this time I've found myself coughing as if I had a light hayfever attack. Then tonight we ate watermelon and galia melon. One bite of galia and my mouth burned and throat got sore all the way to my stomach, continuing to burn for hours. Mouth blisters appeared and I felt lightheaded and fatigued. My throat and lips felt swollen. I instantly knew I was having an allergy attack. Soon I took some Benadryl we had in the house, and slept. A few hours later I feel better but still have the congestion, fatigue, sore throat, etc. Scary! I had no idea melons could cause allergies. I googled it and discovered Oral Allergy Syndrome and cross-reactions. Ahh...very helpful. I'm concerned, though, that I'm now sensitized to other foods (like bananas, tomatoes, and nuts, all of which I enjoy often). We'll see.

Btw, Anonymous (who posted on 5/10/11), today is 7/28/11.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this post. I have hayfever symptoms now with the pollen count getting high. I ate canteloupe this morning for the first time in over a year. Now have swollen throat and roof of mouth. This has allergic reaction started happening in the last six years. My throat will swell so bad I can hardly swallow. Took a Benadryl and hope it helps. Glad I found out what the problem food is. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all this information. I am very allergic to rag weed and thought with this snow I was safe. How wrong! I ate one bite full of cantaloupe and my mouth started to itch and my lips swelled. I never knew the connection until now. Thank you so much!