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Allergies health centre

Why does my mouth get itchy when I eat fruit?

WebMD Commentary
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

If within minutes of eating certain fruits your mouth begins to itch or your lips swell it's likely you have oral allergy syndrome, and you wouldn't be alone – it's the number one food allergy to affect adults.

Oral allergy syndrome is closely connected to hayfever and is also known as pollen-food syndrome. The itch, swelling, and sometimes rash occur – usually in those who have hayfever - because the fruit you've eaten contains proteins similar to those found in tree and grass pollen which your body mistakenly reacts to.

Symptoms have usually gone within the hour but you may find that having a warm drink or rinsing your mouth helps, or that an antihistamine tablet relieves the itchiness in your mouth and throat. Of course, the best way to prevent symptoms is to identify the fruit responsible and avoid it. However, some people may be affected by the raw fruit but be able to eat it when it's cooked, as cooking usually destroys the allergens. Also, it may be that one variety of apples, for example, has an effect but not another variety. It's also possible peeling the fruit and discarding the skin means you could eat it without symptoms. It's not just fruit that can be a problem, but some vegetables and nuts too.

If you're concerned about your mouth itching after eating fruit or if your symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.

Reviewed on August 04, 2016

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