Cantaloupe and Carrots Make My Throat Itch. Am I Allergic?

Whenever I eat carrots or cantaloupe, my throat itches and it takes an hour or so for it to go away. What could it be? I love cantaloupe, so does this mean I can't eat it?
– Ayra*

You might have something called oral allergy syndrome (OAS) — you'll need to see a doctor to find out for sure.

OAS is an allergic reaction that usually happens only in the mouth and throat. People with OAS can react to specific foods, such as certain fruits, vegetables, peanuts, or tree nuts. When they eat the food they're allergic to, they may notice itching, tingling, swelling, and redness of the lips, mouth, or throat — often within minutes.

People who are allergic to tree pollens are more likely to have OAS. In fact, OAS is also called pollen-food allergy syndrome.

OAS usually only involves the mouth and throat. But occasionally the reaction can affect other parts of the body as well.

If your doctor thinks OAS is causing your symptoms, he or she may give you a list of foods to be careful with. You might also need to carry emergency medication, such as an epinephrine auto-injector, if you are at risk of a severe reaction.

Until you see a doctor, avoid the foods that are causing symptoms. And if you ever have trouble breathing, ask someone to call 911 immediately.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: April 2010

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