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Is it possible to develop an allergy to something as an adult having previously been absolutely fine with it?

(30 Posts)
Olihan Sun 31-May-09 22:49:03

I seem to have developed an allergy to fruit in the last couple of years. When I eat it the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat starts to itch and I've noticed on a couple of occasion that my speech feels weird so I assume my tongue or something is swelling a bit. Does that sound like an allergic reaction?

It started with plums and peaches but now includes pears, most varieties of apple, strawberries, apricots, cherries and some grapes. Does the fact that it seems to be spreading mean anything?

I also used to be okay with tinned fruit but even that sets it off now.

Does anyone know why this has happened, if it's likely to go away again and if I should be going to the GP about it?

edam Sun 31-May-09 23:01:08

It does sound like a potential allergy, and yes, it is possible to develop them as an adult. The swelling and itching would really worry me. Obviously don't eat any more fruit (am sure you are doing this anyway) and yes, DO go to your GP as soon as you can, and see if they can refer you to a specialist in allergies. And maybe give you an Epipen in the meantime, if that's appropriate.

Worth looking up the Allergy UK website as well, especially as there are very few medical consultants specialising purely in allergies (as opposed to dermatologists who deal with eczema and respiratory physicians who deal with asthma) - if you find there is a long wait in your area, Allergy UK may be able to offer advice/suggest ways you can work round that if at all possible.

edam Sun 31-May-09 23:02:53

sorry, should explain, swelling in your throat is dangerous for obvious reasons - you don't want to end up with breathing difficulties as a result of being exposed to a substance that provokes an allergic reaction.

It seems if an allergy is triggered, in some people, reactions can become more and more severe on each subsequent exposure. So if I were you, I would avoid fruit entirely until you've had medical advice.

wb Sun 31-May-09 23:03:02

It sounds like it could be oral allergy syndrome to me. Do you react to tree pollen?

It is unlikely to go away entirely, I'm afraid - you might be alright with fruit if it is very well cooked but I'd go see your GP and have some Piriton handy before you experiment any more.

Olihan Tue 02-Jun-09 20:44:24

Thanks for that.

Edam, I'll definitely look on the Allergy UK website for advice. I've been trying odd things I know I react to to see if the reaction still happened which seems like a bit of a silly thing to do in retrospect.

wb, I don't think I'm allergic to tree pollen - would that be a hayfever-like reaction? Cut grass can trigger my hayfever but I haven't noticed tree pollen doing it.

Does anyone know why you can suddenly become allergic to something after years and years of being fine? I'm 32 and have always eaten loads of fruit (my childhood nickname was Fruitface!) with no problems.

barnsleybelle Tue 02-Jun-09 20:53:48

I know it's not the same but 3 yrs ago when i was 36 i suddenly started with the most horrendous hay fever having never previously suffered. It's stayed with me since.

meltedmarsbars Tue 02-Jun-09 21:07:34

Olihan My dh has the same with fruits - started with just a few now he can't eat any except kiwi banana and citrus, unless I cook them first. An last year he ate some green cobnuts straight from the bush and had a reaction to those too. He was fine as a kid.

He's not bothered going to the gp.

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 21:08:51

You'll be allergic to Silver Birch Trees, the share a very similar protein to the one in those fruits. This happened to me a few years ago.

Bonneville Tue 02-Jun-09 21:09:31

Barnsley - thats exactly what happened to me too! I suffered terribly for about 4 years then it stopped. Strange.

Kayteee Tue 02-Jun-09 21:09:37

I have had the exact same reaction recently. Especially with bananas and tomatoes. I THINK it might be the pesticides...not sure yet but it doesn't seem to happen with organic fruit OR fruit that I've peeled and washed thoroughly.

Maybe just a coincidence though grin

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 21:11:57

Mine isn't as bad with organic fruit either. Once allergies have started with one thing though you tend to develop more because it's your immune system over reacting.

Kayteee Tue 02-Jun-09 21:12:30

and yes, you can suddenly become allergic/not allergic to things. My eyes used to swell up like pingpong balls after eating boiled eggs grin not pretty....years later I am fine to eat them...who knows, eh?

HeinzSight Tue 02-Jun-09 21:13:25

Some suggest that your body goes through cycles every 7 yrs and allergies can crop up in adulthood.

DH only developed hayfever when he was 30.

With regards to previous exposure and then developing an allergy. To use bee allergy for an example, you might get stung once, your body is exposed to poison, you get stung again and for some reason your body, instead of releasing a small amount of histamin to the sting site, VAST quantities are released to the entire body which is where people suffer with anaphylaxia, this is obviously an extreme example. But I'm wondering if the same is true of a seemingly harmless substance like fruit.

Castiel Tue 02-Jun-09 21:16:08

FIL's favourite food is paella. Last year he had a plate and came out in a terrible rash within minutes, tongue and throat swelled, ambulance called. Tried prawn sandwich a couple of weeks later, same thing. Is suddenly very allergic to all seafood. GP says 'it is one on those things'.

barnsleybelle Tue 02-Jun-09 21:18:27

bonneville, if yours stopped after 4 yrs that might mean i'v only got another yr to suffer smile

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 21:19:23

The allergy clinic will tell you stop eating them because there is a danger of your air ways getting blocked because it's something you eat. Mine developed when I was pregnant with dd3 (have been allergic to silver birch trees for years though) and it got less severe after I gave birth, however I take piriton all the time (due to having loads of allergies) and I don't get tongue swelling anymore.

I also find organic fruit makes me react the least.

My the end of my pregnancy I never wanted to eat a banana or melon again!

Olihan Tue 02-Jun-09 21:28:46

I've tried taking a basic antihistamine after eating but it didn't seem to clear it up any more quickly than not taking it.

All I eat at the moment is oranges and bananas. Do you think I should stop eating those as well?

I haven't noticed any difference between organic and not, peeling doesn't stop the reaction, either.

I think the GP will be first port of call tomorrow. Will they refer quite easily, do you think?

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 21:43:49

I take antihistamines all the time. You have to find an antihistamine that works for you and you have to remember it probably takes 30 minutes for it to get into your system after swallowing it so you would need to take it before eating IYSWIM.

If you have developed oral allergy syndrome which is specifically linked to the silver birch tree protein then you bananas & oranges should be fine, have you tried melon? I think pineapple is okay too as these fruits don't contain that protein.

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 21:46:52

Apparantly the foods linked to Birch includes

almond, apple, apricot, carrot, celery, cherry, coriander, fennel, hazelnut, kiwi, nectarine, parsley, parsnip, peach, pear, peppers, plum, raw potato, prune, tomato, walnut - occasional patients also react to raw legumes (e.g. pea, green bean, mange tout)

Foods linked to Rye Grass

melon, peanut, tomato, watermelon

Foods linked to Rubber Latex

almond, apple, apricot, avocado, banana, raw carrot, raw celery, chestnut, cherry, dill, fig, ginger, kiwi, mango, melon, oregano, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear, plum, raw potato, sage, raw tomato

Olihan Tue 02-Jun-09 22:04:37

Cargirl, that's really interesting, most of the things on that list do set me off. I licked raw cake mix off the beaters my fingers earlier and reacted really quickly. I assumed it was the dried berries in it but there were almonds in there too. The cooked cakes aren't having the same effect though.

Can you get the anti-histamines on prescription if it's properly diagnosed?

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 22:09:14

yes you can get them on pescription. I get 200 piriton at a time - can take up to 4 a day! I also used to take telfast 180 (very strong but a pescription only drug) but after a few years my allergies seemed under better control so am fine on just piriton.

For me I have found repeated exposure helps keep my reaction down ie when we had our own cats I reacted less to cats than before I got one. However this is not true for everyone! Although there is a big nut trial going on which kind of proves this theory.

Olihan Tue 02-Jun-09 22:12:44

Do you find you can eat some of the things if you have taken the antihistamines or do they just reduce the reaction?

I hate not being able to snack on fruit so if I could eat it a bit I would be happy.

Do you take them before every meal or at regular times?

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 22:19:37

I take 2 piriton every evening (I have dust mite allergy) and sometimes have to take extra. I think it reduces the reaction but my natural reaction may be less severe than yours or I could have just desensitised it myself by ingnoring it and continuing to eat it. However please please be very very careful if you are going to carry on eating a food that makes your tongue swell it could of course be fatal to you.

I know piriton works as an antihistamine for me because it controls my other allergies.

Also if I skip the odd day of taking antihistamines it's okay but miss 2 or 3 days in a row and I can really tell so it seems to build up in your system.

The ENT dept tested me for my allergens.

Olihan Tue 02-Jun-09 22:31:53

I've noticed my reactions getting worse each time, I think. I used to be able to eat certain varieties of apple but now all apples do it, same with grapes. Red were okay but green weren't, now red aren't either.

I guess with the slight tongue swelling I should steer completely clear of everything on that silver birch list until I've had some proper medical advice. Don't fancy a full on anaphalactic reaction, tbh.

CarGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 22:35:24

sad perhaps you should ask for an epipen in case you eat some in error at a future date.

They told me to give them up completely but I am stubborn and love fruit so ignored them and like I say I have far less of a reaction now there is no cure only avoidance.

Every now then I eat a piece of fruit that makes my lips and mouth all itchy it's horrible isnt it.

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