Have a fruit or a peanut and your mouth swells and you feel itchy? It may seem like a simple allergic reaction to a food, but it may also be SOA, Oral Allergic Syndrome.

Professor Giorgio Walter Canonica, Head of the Center for Personalized Medicine, Asthma and Allergology in Humanitas, spoke about it in an interview in Corriere della Sera.

Oral Allergic Syndrome is a specific condition and, as a syndrome, brings together a set of different symptoms triggered mainly by pollen when, eating certain foods, causes an abnormal immune response.

The number of cases of SOA is increasing, also due to a fatty diet.

According to experts at the American Academy of Allergy, for example, up to 75% of patients in the United States who are allergic to birch pollen have problems eating celery and apples. According to allergists, one of the causes of the increase in new cases of SOA is also an unbalanced diet that is too rich in fat.

“The diet – explained the professed Canonica – can affect the probability of developing allergies, especially food allergies: not by chance these are much more frequent in the U.S., while in Italy they are even less common, thanks to the spread of the Mediterranean diet.

Cross-allergies: how to identify cross-reactivity between allergens of different origins

“It is very important to identify them as soon as possible, in order to give the right advice to those patients who have annoyances eating certain foods but have never linked the problem to their allergy” and who are not directly allergic or intolerant to that particular food, the Professor explained yet.

“To identify crossborder allergies, an allergological molecular diagnosis is necessary: these are tests that sift through dozens of molecules and allergens, identify those with which the patient reacts and identify all the cross-reactivities to which he is sensitive,” explained Canonica. “If, for example, the patient is allergic to tropomyosin, it is very likely that he will have discomforts eating crustaceans and snails.

These particular molecular tests – called Isac (which investigates 112 allergens) and Alex (which controls 282) – have not yet been reimbursed by the National Health System.

Environmental factors: another cause for the increase of allergy sufferers

As Professor Canonica and allergy specialists have already pointed out several times, cases of new allergy sufferers have increased over the years, also due to climate change, temperatures and the low rainfall that allow pollen to remain in the air for longer. In addition to this, there is of course pollution, which damages the respiratory mucous membranes.