Could hay fever be linked to allergies?

The hay fever season has begun. I’ve been sneezing, snuffling and mopping my streaming eyes for the last few weeks now and this prompted me to find out exactly what causes my hay fever. From March to May, pollens from trees such as Birch, Hazel and Alder are the most common cause. Mould spores and weeds can also cause hay fever. From May to July, grass and flowers are in profusion, so if you’re really unlucky and are allergic to grasses and trees you could be suffering from March to July. Not a pleasant thought.

What I find even more interesting is that there could be a link between hay fever and vegetable and fruit allergies. I read a recent article entitled “Fruit and vegetable allergies soaring surpassing peanut allergies” by Jasmine Jafferali, Chicago Family Health Examiner, posted on LinkedIn Food Allergies Forum, which goes into detail about recent research findings in the US. It’s fascinating reading for anyone suffering from hay fever and multiple vegetable and fruit allergies and intolerances, as I do.

The article suggests the following links between hayfever triggers and fruit and vegetable sensitivity:

  • Ragweed (weed): melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), bananas, cucumbers and zucchini (peppers).
  • Birch (tree): potatoes, carrots, cherries, celery, apples, pears, plums, peaches, parsnip, kiwi, hazelnuts and apricots.
  • Mugwort (weed): celery, carrots, various spices.
  • Grasses: tomatoes, potatoes, peaches

I have an intolerance to celery, hazelnuts and tomatoes, which appears to span all four hay fever culprits in this list, but I know that I can eat apricots, carrots, parsnips, apples, melons, cherries, pears, plums, peaches, potatoes and peppers with no problem. I’m not entirely sure whether kiwi, banana and cucumber are causing me a problem and need to do some controlled food introductions to test this. Various spices could mean anything and I’d rather not consider this being another thing to avoid

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I would be really interested to hear from anyone who thinks this link could be real. Allergies and intolerances are on the increase but no one knows why. Will we ever have the answers? or will we just find more and more unanswered questions? What do you think?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.

Comments

  1. Yes the Hayfever season has well and truly begun. For me it usually begins every year ( but only for the past five years) on my birthday June the 7th. Not a nice birthday present. This year it has arrived a little later. June 17th at 2.00 am to be precise !
    I generally get the sniffles from beginning of June but then mid June it develops into an constant misery of tickly throat, dry itchy eyes, muggy head and a general feeling of being unwell. Have been trying Max Strength hayfever tablets which help a little but they never stop it completely and my moan is that they dont last for long enough. If I take one in the morning then I wake in the middle of the night needing my next dose.
    Have today plastered Hay Max all over my eyes and nose and am going to change my pillow case every night when I go sleep in case it is covered in the offending pollen.

    Nicola

    • Hi Nic. I never knew you were a fellow hay fever sufferer. You always look so bright and breezy. Mine has not been as bad this year and seems to have stopped now – touch wood. Someone at my tennis club recently bought a either dehumidifier or an Ioniser – I can’t remember which. I’ll find out for you. She also got something from the pharmacy which is kind of inserted into each nostril at night. This has apparently really helped. I’ll try to find out what this is called for you too. How’s the hayfever now? I smile ever time I picture you with your mask on – sporting the cats smile and whiskers.

  2. Try one teaspoon of LOCAL honey each day of the year BEFORE your havyfever season. It’s getting hard to get with the poor bees declining so rapidly but the theory is that this exposes you to all the pollen in your area in safe doses. This means that your immune system recognises the pollen proteins when they come round in season as it’s already used to it. Hopefully this means it won’t react. Basically hayfever is an over-reaction of the immune system to proteins it perceives as foreign invaders (like viruses) and tries to fight them off by sluicing them away with copious secretions. It needs to be reassured that these foreign invaders are friendly and to be welcomed rather than repelled.

  3. Becky griffiths says:

    My hayfever is worst at Easter time, it’s the tree blossoms that affect me I think. I now don’t suffer at all in the summer.

    I do however have slight allergies from eating apples, kiwis, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches and apricots, though it’s not as bad as it used to be. Basically just get a very tickly irriated throat, sometimes little white spots come up around my lips too.

    In the last couple of years I have found I have a very bad reaction to peeling and chopping parsnips (and sometimes potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots too). It gives me the same reaction as hayfever – terrible tickly nose, lots of sneezing, then feeling a bit wheezy and headachey. I seem to be able to eat these foods without any problem, but its handling them raw that affect me. There’s definitely some kind of link with hayfever and foods!

    • Becky you could quite rightly pass food preparation over to someone else, in the interests of your health… if only that were possible. I used to be bad with apples and carrots when raw but could eat them cooked no problem. The cooking changes the food so it’s not irritating any more. My sypmtoms were just itchy mouth and lips and swelling lumps around my mouth. Not that nice but not so bad I stopped eating apples. I found if I cut them up into pieces and popped a bit in without it mashing on my lips it was much better.

  4. Just seen this post so I’m a bit late to the party. I found this fascinating. I have hayfever and in particular struggle with tree polins but I am also allergic to apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and hazelnuts (swollen throat, lips, wheezing and difficulty breathing) and I sneeze if I’m peeling potatoes. So basically everything on the birch polin list.

    • Hi Lynette. I definite case of oral allergy syndrome, which is not quite so frightening as allergies but still unpleasant none the less. Interesting you have everything on the list. I have hayfever throughout the season but it’s worse now so I think grass is worse than trees pollen but I react to moulds too. Lovely! I have a big problem with celery, tomatoes and coriander. Sometimes cucumber but I eat it sometime without any problems. Just pray we don’t get ragweed in this country. They get this in the US and Canada and it’s supposed to be much worse than birch and grass pollen allergy wise.

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