Millions of individuals all over the world have food allergies and plum allergy can occur but it is considered uncommon. If the individual is allergic to plums, there is a possibility that he/she can develop allergies to other fruits as well.
Plums are connected to almonds which are categorized as tree nuts. The other fruits that are included in the family include nectarine, peach, cherry, apricot and prune plum. It is important to note that plums are part of a genus in the Rosacea family. The other tree nuts include pecans, cashews and walnuts.
Potential for plum allergy
If the individual has birch-pollen allergy, he/she can end up with plum allergy. The protein present in plum is strikingly similar to the protein in birch pollen that he/she reacts to. This condition is known as the birch-fruit syndrome.
Always bear in mind that the symptoms typically manifest approximately 15 minutes after ingesting raw plums. There are localized reactions such as inflammation and itchiness in the throat and mouth. Take note that the symptoms can be dangerous such as anaphylaxis.
A severe reaction can result to constricted airways, a drop in the blood pressure and other symptoms. Take note that an allergen or molecule that causes oral allergy syndrome will not endure cooking. This simply means that the individual might be able to stand cooked plums but not the raw ones.
Important considerations on plum allergy
For those who suffer from oral allergy syndrome, the individual can develop reactions to various foods such as apples, pears, cherries, bananas, melons, hazelnuts, carrot or celery. There is a cross reaction that often occurs with other foods due to exposure to the birch pollen.
The individual does not have to eat plums to end up with a reaction. Directly handling raw plums such as peeling it can trigger swelling or itchiness and a rash on the area where the juice touches the skin. In some cases, it can also trigger sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. During severe reactions, the symptoms can be life-threatening.
A doctor should be consulted if plum allergy is suspected. The doctor might recommend an elimination diet or encourage the individual to keep a food diary. A skin test or blood test might be carried out using small amounts of plum.
If an individual is suspected with plum allergy, it is vital to avoid the food. Take note that there is no established treatment that can prevent an allergic reaction or minimize the symptoms. In case the reactions are minor, antihistamines can be used to minimize the symptoms after exposure. As for severe allergic reactions, an injectable epinephrine should be administered or simply bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.