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HealthWatch: Springtime Food Allergies

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Spring is just ten days away and it's expected to be one of the worst for allergy sufferers in a decade. It's not just pollen that can cause springtime allergies, Dr. Max Gomez reports.

Lukus Hasenstab has allergies almost all year, and they make him miserable.

"I'm allergic to pretty much anything in nature. Trees, the pollen," he said.

What some allergy sufferers eat, like fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts can make them feel even worse.

"The food contains certain proteins that are similiar in nature to the pollens, and the body confuses the two and it reacts as if you're having an allergy attack in your mouth or throat," said Dr. Clifford Bassett of Allergy and Asthma Care of N.Y.

It's called oral allegy syndrome, not an allergic reaction to the food itself but what is called a cross reaction.

Symptoms include  itchiness  or tingling on the lips or in the mouth and throat, and about one-third of allergy sufferers get it.

In the Spring, tree pollen can trigger reactions to fruits like apples and oranges, and vegetables like celery and peppers. In the Fall, bananas and cucumbers can be a problem for people allergic to ragweed.

Lukus has to limit some foods all year round. "Bananas are a big culprit, almonds oddly enough, various nuts, hazlenuts as well," he said.

Allergists were predicting one of the worst allergy seasons, but there is a way to avoid problems with what you eat.

"If you peel the food or cook the food, a lot of times we can knock out the  protein and the symptoms go away or are less pronounced," Dr. Bassett said.

"I work in a restaurant and I love food so to have to really think about what I'm about to eat is kind of challenging," Lukus said. He sticks to what he knows is safe, so he isn't sorry after a meal.

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