Allergy shots may be an effective treatment for pediatric pollen food allergy syndrome

New study shows improved symptoms in 55% of children

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Houston

We know that children with pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS) also suffer from seasonal allergies. A new study being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Houston shows that allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy) can be effective in reducing pollen food allergy syndrome symptoms for pediatric patients. Pollen food allergy syndrome (also known as oral allergy syndrome) is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables or some tree nuts. Symptoms usually include itchy mouth, scratchy throat or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat. “We surveyed 20 pediatric patients between the ages of 9 and 18 receiving allergy shots as treatment for mugwort, timothy and orchard grass allergies,” says allergist Alana Jones, DO, ACAAI member and co-author of the study. “All 20 patients reported pollen food allergy syndrome symptoms. Of the 20 surveyed, 11 (55 percent) described improvement or resolution of their symptoms. Four (20 percent) reported unchanged symptoms and five (25 percent) reported they hadn’t tried to reintroduce foods they’d previously reacted to.”

Pollen food allergy syndrome typically does not appear in young children. It is more common in older children, teens and young adults who have been eating the fruits or vegetables in question for years without any problems. In addition, young children under the age of 3 do not usually develop hay fever until after they are toddlers. Hay fever is associated with reactions to the pollens that cross-react with the foods. Those with pollen food allergy syndrome typically have allergy to tree, weed, and or grass pollens. “Research has shown that adults who are receive allergy shots see improvement in pollen food allergy syndrome symptoms, but the effect hasn’t been widely shown in pediatric patients,” says Dr. Jones. “We think it’s an important finding, especially for kids who are receiving allergy shots and also suffering from pollen food allergy syndrome.” Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables, or some tree nuts. The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it. People affected by oral allergy syndrome can usually eat the same fruits or vegetables in cooked form because the proteins are distorted during the heating process, and the immune system no longer recognizes the food.

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