In all corners of the globe, many are suffering from food allergies. The common triggers for allergies include milk, soy, eggs, wheat, shellfish, fish, tree nuts and peanuts. On the other hand, some are allergic to other foods such as plums. An individual who is allergic to plums has likelihood to be allergic to certain fruits as well.
What are plums?
Plums are closely related to almonds which are classified as a tree nut. Other fruits that are included in this family include nectarine, peach, cherry, apricot and prune plum. It is important to note that plums are included in the rosacea family with over 400 species. The other tree nuts include pecans, cashews and walnuts.
Who are at risk?
An individual who has birch pollen allergy can develop a plum allergy. The protein present in plum is quite similar to the protein found in birch pollen. This is known as the birch-fruit syndrome. The symptoms can be considered as oral allergy syndrome as well. Take note that the symptoms typically manifest within 15 minutes after eating a raw plum. The common reactions include localized itchiness and inflammation in the throat and mouth.
In rare cases, the oral allergy syndrome symptoms can be dangerous such as anaphylaxis. During anaphylaxis, it can lead to an abrupt drop in the blood pressure and blocked airways. Take note that the allergen that triggers the oral allergy syndrome could not survive cooking. It simply means that the individual can tolerate cooked plums but not the raw ones.
Considerations to bear in mind
If an individual suffers from oral allergy syndrome, he/she can develop reactions to other foods. These include apples, pears, bananas, apricots, melons, cherries, hazelnuts, carrots and celery.
There are cases in which the individual may have a different and severe type of allergy to plums than birch-fruit syndrome or oral allergy syndrome. If this is the case, the individual might also be allergic to peaches. The symptoms typically include oral allergy syndrome along with vomiting, hives, abdominal pain and life-threatening symptoms. The dangerous reactions include difficulty breathing, throat swelling and anaphylaxis.
A severe reaction is likely to occur if the individual has eaten plums with the peel. The allergen that triggers this reaction can survive cooking and processing. With this in mind, the individual should avoid cooked plums.
In some cases, the individual does not have to eat a plum to suffer from a reaction. Direct contact with the plum while peeling it can result to the formation of a rash, swelling or itchiness. It can also trigger sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes or even the life-threatening symptoms.
If you suspect that an individual has plum allergy, it is best to consult a doctor. The doctor will perform a blood test or skin prick test to determine the exact allergen.
The ideal treatment for plum allergy is to completely avoid the food. Until today, there is no proven treatment that can prevent an allergic response. You can take a course on first aid training so that you will know what to do during an allergic reaction. For minor reactions, you can provide the individual with antihistamines to minimize the symptoms. As for severe reactions, the individual usually brings along an EpiPen. You have to administer a shot and bring the individual to the hospital for further evaluation and medical care.