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Do I Have An Avocado Allergy Or Intolerance?

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Do I have an avocado allergy or intolerance? When I was younger, I couldn't eat avocados without feeling a scratchy, tightening feeling in my throat.Β Is there a remedy or cure, besides avoiding them?

This is an excellent question that comes up frequently. You most likely have pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS). It is also called oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It is an allergic reaction. Your reactions are not consistent with a food intolerance.

OAS typically happens when a patient, who is allergic to pollen (e.g., birch, alder, ragweed, mugwort, and some grasses), eats certain foods. This includes fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. The symptoms are limited to the mouth and throat. They include:

  • Scratchy throat
  • Itchiness of the mouth or lips
  • Swollen lips, tongue, or throat

Patients allergic to birch pollen can have OAS with:

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Cherry
  • Many other foods

The treatment is to avoid foods that cause these symptoms. It may also help to treat the birch allergy and nasal allergies with allergy shots (immunotherapy). If this treatment is successful, approximately 50% of patients see an improvement in their OAS. They are able to eat the foods that triggered it.

Allergy, Food Allergy, Pollen Allergy
Answered by

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.

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