Cross allergy: pollen allergy sufferers should be careful with these foods

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Most people who suffer from hay fever know that spring is the time when their problems return. The pollen flies through the air, watery eyes are the order of the day, special caution is required. But did you know that, depending on the type of pollen to which you're allergic, you should be particularly cautious about eating certain foods? So-called cross-allergies are an additional burden for those affected.

Why should I give up apples if I'm allergic to birch pollen? About 70 percent of sufferers of a tree pollen allergy (e.g. birch, alder, hazel) have cross-allergies, also called cross-reactions with food because their proteins are very similar. Our immune system can't distinguish whether the proteins are those of birch or apple. It only recognises the allergen as dangerous - and a cross-reaction occurs.

Signs of cross-allergy

Anyone suffering from hay fever and experiencing the following symptoms while eating should avoid these foods, at least during the pollen season. However, many proteins, and thus allergens, are destroyed when cooking or heating and can therefore still be eaten.

  • itching in mouth and throat
  • hoarseness
  • numbness
  • puffiness of the eyelids
  • digestive problems
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips

The following cross-allergies are typical

Birch, alder, hazel January–April Pome and stone fruit (apples, pears, plums, apricots, cherries, etc.), hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, carrots, celery, mango, avocado, fennel, kiwi, lychee.
Mugwort July–August Celery, carrots, fennel, artichokes, chamomile, pepper, mustard, dill, parsley, coriander, caraway, aniseed, sunflower seeds.
Grasses May–July Allergy to grasses can cause sensitivity to certain foods, such as peanuts, potatoes, soya, kiwi, tomatoes, melon, cereals, peppermint. However, these don't usually cause an allergic reaction when eating these foods.

But cross-reactions with food aren't always triggered by pollen alone. An allergy to latex or house dust mites can also cause a reaction.

House dust mites: Shrimps, lobsters, crawfish, crabs, snails
Latex: Avocado, banana, sweet chestnut (vermicelli, chestnut), kiwi, papaya, fig, paprika

Risk of anaphylactic shock

In the worst case, the allergy triggers respiratory distress or circulatory arrest. In the case of a so-called anaphylaxis, it's vital that allergy sufferers know the most important rules of behaviour and emergency measures, but also how to avoid potential allergens. CSS Insurance has joined forces with the aha! Swiss Allergy Centre to offer an anaphylaxis course for adults, young people, and parents of affected children.

Mädchen streichelt ihre Katze
Asthma courses

For the whole family

Group tuition and camps in cooperation with the aha! Swiss Allergy Centre.

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