FEB 04, 2017 10:35 AM PST

Fuzzy Peaches, Itchy Mouths?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

For some people, biting into a perfect sun-ripened peach can lead to strange, itchy sensations in the mouth and throat. This is the body's way of defending itself against what it perceives as foreign invaders. In the case of fruits, the invaders are proteins on the fruit's skin that resemble pollen, and trigger an allergic reaction.

The condition is known as oral allergy syndrome, or pollen-food syndrome. It more frequently occurs in people who already have known pollen allergies. And depending on the type of pollen allergy, the food that triggers the oral allergy may be different. For example, people allergic to birch pollen can have itchy mouth reactions to peaches, pears, plums, and even celery and apples. Ragweed pollen allergies are typically associated with cross-reactions to bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, and zucchinis.

Fortunately, oral allergy syndromes are often less severe than true food allergies - the itching usually goes away after a short while. Furthermore, the reaction can be bypassed by removing the fruit skin, or by cooking the fruit to denature the offending proteins.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
MAVEN Mission Connects Mars' Wind Patterns to Surface Features
NASA’s MAVEN mission, launched on November 18th, 2013, has been orbiting Mars and investigating the planet’s features for more than half a deca...
JAN 15, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 15, 2020
2019 Was The Second Warmest Year on Record
Independent analyses from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that 2019 was the second warmest year on recor...
JAN 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 19, 2020
Flying Foxes Must be Careful of Crocodiles When Hydrating
Flying foxes absolutely despise the Sun, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they look for shade whenever possible. One pro...
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
Scientists Assess GHG Emissions Related to Palm Oil Land Conversion
Palm oil production remains problematic in several ways, and a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham has quantified one of these probl...
FEB 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 07, 2020
Earth's Magnetic Field Debuted Over 4 Billions Ago, and It was Much Stronger
The existence of a diverse atmosphere on our planet is crucial for life. On top of being in the goldilocks zone, another life-supporting feature of our Ear...
FEB 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 18, 2020
Will We Ever Solve the Universe's 'Dark Matter' Mystery?
If you were to take a step back from the Milky Way and attempt to observe our universe, you’d see a plethora of bright and colorful sectors made up o...
Loading Comments...