Oral Allergy Syndrome is a systemic response to allergen (allergen-initiated contact) that can be divided into immediate and late reactions.
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Immediate reactions usually begin about 10 seconds after contact with an allergen and last for 3-10 minutes. They consist of diarrhea, vomiting, hives (urticaria), swollen eyes, runny nose, wheezing, and irregular heart rates. The most common causes are food allergies such as milk or eggs caused by lactose or ovalbumin. Other immediate reactions include latex or penicillium exposure, which often involves a pen or a toy that came into contact with food. Immediate reactions are potentially deadly if not treated professionally at the first sign of symptoms.
Late reactions occur between 10 minutes and 3 hours after contact with the allergen and can last for hours to days. They involve swelling of the lips and the area around it, red eyes, skin rashes, and asthma, which can be potentially deadly. The late reaction is often caused by grass allergy, which affects people living in areas with high grass pollen count. Allergic to cats? That’s a type of Late-phase reaction as well — histamine released from your body reacts with an allergen from the cat. Cat allergies are more common in women than in men.
An immediate reaction has 6+ symptoms that last for less than 4 hours. A late reaction has 6+ symptoms that last for 4+ weeks.
Immediate reactions require emergency treatment and symptom management. Medical attention should be sought at the first sign of symptoms (within 4 hours). Late reactions require you to stay away from the allergen and treat the symptoms with antihistamines, steroids, and increased hydration. Only rarely do they require hospitalization, as they are not life-threatening.
The most commonly reported cause of oral allergy syndrome in children is cow’s milk protein allergy. However, certain food allergies, usually eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, can also trigger a reaction.
Due to the risk of severe reactions, people with oral allergy syndrome are advised to avoid nuts, fish, shellfish, and certain vegetables. If they are not allergic to these things, it may be because the proteins in their diet resemble those that trigger allergies.
Some foods high in protein, such as beans, seeds, and soybeans, tend to be tolerated well by most people with pollen allergies. This is due to their antigens not resembling those of pollen allergens. The same holds for animals such as cats and dogs.
Research suggests that oral allergy syndrome is triggered by the IgE antibodies against specific allergen proteins present in the blood. It is generally believed that these antibodies activate mast cells and basophils to release histamine, which then affects your entire body. Therefore, oral allergy syndrome symptoms occur because of an allergic reaction in your body. The reaction can make it hard to breathe (asthma), cause hives, and cause vomiting or diarrhea. Oral allergy syndrome symptoms may last several hours and can be highly uncomfortable.
Managing Your Symptoms
The most important and effective type of treatment is avoiding allergens. If that is not possible because of your occupation, you can use antihistamines and steroids to treat symptoms of an oral allergy syndrome. They should help relieve you of the dryness and irritation you feel in the mouth and throat. For example, an antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine, also known as Benadryl, can help ease itching, burning sensations, and hives.
Anti-itching medicines such as calamine lotion and corticosteroid creams can also help treat skin rashes from oral allergy syndrome. It is important to keep your throat and mouth moist since dryness causes the symptoms of oral allergy syndrome to worsen. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier can help you ease the discomfort. Remember to seek medical attention in severe cases where anaphylaxis occurs up to four hours after you have consumed the allergen.
Also, if you have been taking antihistamines for a long time and your nose is beginning to get stuffy, it is a good idea to take an allergy pill like Benadryl. If you find that the medication does not help but worsens your symptoms, you should see a specialist as soon as possible.
How Do You Treat Oral Allergy Syndrome?
It is essential to relieve oral allergy syndrome symptoms as quickly as possible. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine can douse the symptoms of the reaction, but they do not cure it. Severe allergic reactions to food that can kill you are a serious medical condition and require immediate professional treatment. In most cases, even though mast cells and basophils are stimulated, they do not release enough histamine (H1-receptor antagonists like cetirizine control this secretion).
If you are allergic to pollen, it is best to avoid it at all costs. In acute cases like hay fever, where there is a high concentration of pollen in the air, people can consider taking antihistamines to help control the symptoms. People living in areas with allergens are prone to developing asthma or sinus infection. Therefore, they should consult a doctor on what to do when they feel any signs of asthma or an attack. Highly pollen-allergic people should always carry their epi-pens just in case of an emergency.
The best way to prevent mouth irritation is to wash your hands regularly and keep them away from your mouth. Also, it is vital that people with oral allergy syndrome are educated about their condition and how to deal with it. They should also learn to identify symptoms that indicate a reaction as well as how long reactions last. Some symptoms are drooling, wheezing, itchy and swollen throat, rashes, and hives. Because of these symptoms, people with oral allergy syndrome should seek immediate medical attention should they start to have any of them. If a person has a reaction to an allergen and is not allergic to it, then they may have oral allergy syndrome.
In conclusion, people with Oral Allergy Syndrome can experience a wide variety of symptoms, some of which are more severe than others. However, fatal allergic reactions are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Avoiding specific allergens is the key to preventing symptoms from occurring. In the event of an allergic reaction, antihistamines and steroids can help control symptoms until medical attention is provided.