Pollen food syndrome

Pollen food syndrome

Pollen food syndrome (also called oral allergy syndrome) and is when a person affected by pollen allergy develops immediate allergic symptoms of their lips, mouth and throat, after eating certain types of raw fruit, raw vegetables or nuts.  Because pollen food syndrome happen after developing pollen allergy, a child can suddenly start having allergic symptoms to foods that they have been eating all their lives, which can be very worrying to all concerned.

Symptoms can include one or more of the following:


  • itchiness or tingling in the lips and mouth

  • sometimes local swelling of the lips and tongues

  • abdominal pain

  • pollen food syndrome very rarely causes anaphylaxis

Unlike other food allergies, symptoms in pollen food syndrome are usually limited to the mouth, lips, tongue and throat because the proteins causing the allergic reaction are broken down by saliva and digestive juices in the stomach. Heating and processing these foods can also destroy the allergenic proteins, thus allowing the person to eat this food. Using a combination of history taking, modified skin prick testing and the latest advances in allergy testing (molecular allergology) we can differentiate between true immediate IgE mediated food allergy and pollen food syndrome, and provide advice on how to manage this.