Ask the Allergist
Can I be Allergic to Wheat as a Food Allergy, in Addition to Pollen?
This is a common question that patients ask their allergist. You have an inhalant allergy to the pollen from many common types of grass. Upon airborne exposure, these pollens trigger allergic symptoms. These symptoms are typically in the upper respiratory tract and eyes. It is commonly referred to as “Hay Fever”.
These pollens do not cause food allergy reactions. In other words, people allergic to the pollen can eat grains such as wheat, rye, and corn without any problems. The proteins in grass pollen and edible forms of grains are different.
If a person has a food allergy to wheat, rye, oat, barley, and/or corn, they have allergic reactions after eating the proteins in these foods. Symptoms can occur in the skin, gut, and lungs. Therefore, a person who has a respiratory allergy to grass pollen will not necessarily have a food allergy to grains such as wheat, rye, and corn.
John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.