When raw fruits, vegetables cause allergy

Rainbow-coloured fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C.
Rainbow-coloured fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, is an allergic reaction that happens when raw fruits and vegetables get into contact with the mouth, causing itchiness or swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, mouth or face.
  • It usually happens because of cross reactivity— the individual is allergic to pollen and because of similarity between the proteins in pollen and the proteins in some fruits and vegetables, then the body reacts to the fruits/vegetables the same way it reacts to pollen.


D

ear doctor,

What is the best remedy for oral allergic syndrome?


Dear reader,

Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, is an allergic reaction that happens when raw fruits and vegetables get into contact with the mouth, causing itchiness or swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, mouth or face. It usually happens because of cross reactivity— the individual is allergic to pollen and because of similarity between the proteins in pollen and the proteins in some fruits and vegetables, then the body reacts to the fruits/vegetables the same way it reacts to pollen.

Someone with this allergy is also likely to have other forms of allergies such as allergic rhinitis or asthma, especially if these are also triggered by pollen.

This condition cannot be cured, but it can be managed by:

avoiding the offending fruits and vegetables

cooking or microwaving the specific fruits and vegetables

peeling fruits before eating them

eating canned fruits and vegetables

using anti-allergy medication

It is advisable to see a doctor if the symptoms are getting worse or they are severe; if there is throat discomfort, difficulty in breathing, skin rash, vomiting or diarrhoea; if there is an allergic reaction to nuts or to cooked vegetables/fruits.

 

Hello, I have been having itchy armpits (both sides) and when they are dry I scratch until I get rashes. When I sweat it hurts very much. What can I apply or do to stop the itching? I can't even wear a sleeveless top in public or lift my hands up because I will embarrass myself. Please help. Thanks.

Mueni


Dear Mueni,

Itching in the armpits can be due to heat rash or due to sweating a lot, or due to allergic or inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. It can also occur due to a fungal infection, or due to inflammation of the sweat glands and/or the hair follicles. It can also be triggered by use of deodorants, irritation from laundry detergents or from the fabric of your shirt.

Since the possible triggers are many, it is advisable to visit a skin specialist/dermatologist for examination to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Also, shower regularly and air-dry the armpit; use a moisturiser for the dry skin, or powder to reduce the wetness from sweat; use a cool compress and eat citrus fruits and vegetables. Avoid itching completely, wear loose, cotton clothing and use essential oils like coconut, lavender or tea tree oil to reduce the itchiness.


Hallo Doc,

Sometimes when I have sexual intercourse, I see some blood in the semen. What could be the problem?

Moses


Dear Moses,

Blood in semen is called hematospermia. In many cases, it has no identifiable cause and it goes away on its own without treatment. In a few people, it may be due to a specific cause such as excessive sexual activity, infections in the reproductive system, inflammation of the prostate or any other part of the reproductive system, stones (like kidney stones) or other obstruction in the prostate or in the seminal vesicles, or growths in the reproductive system. It can also be caused by surgeries or procedures such as prostate biopsy, prostate surgery or vasectomy.

It would be advisable to be examined, including urine tests, STD screening and ultrasound scan or CT scan if necessary and analysis of the semen. Treatment depends on the cause.

However, in most people, the blood disappears on its own without treatment.

 

I've tried to quit smoking but in vain. If I dare I have headaches and lack sleep. And the urge to smoke comes with a bang. I can chain smoke a pack in one sitting. What’s the solution to quit smoking please?


Dear reader,

Congratulations on starting the journey to quit smoking! While it may be challenging to overcome the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal from nicotine, it is possible to completely stop smoking. This begins with a decision to quit and focusing on the positive impact of quitting such as heath benefits, reduced exposure of others to secondary smoke, financial savings... It is also helpful to have a supporter who walks the journey with you. This could be a family member, a friend or a mental health care worker.

Avoid smoking triggers as much as possible, and when you experience a craving:

-wait five to 10 minutes after which most of the time the worst of the craving will have passed

-chew on carrots, nuts, seeds, gum or a sweet

-engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity

-go to a public non-smoking area

-call a supporter

You can also have prescription medication such asbupropion, which can help with stopping smoking. There is also nicotine replacement therapy using nicotine nasal sprays, nicotine lozenges, or gum to manage intense cravings, while nicotine patches are longer acting.

Send your questions to [email protected]


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