The sweet and juicy pear is, for most people, a tasty treat. But for people with pear allergies, an experience eating this common fruit is very different. Like many other allergenic foodstuffs, pears can trigger reactions in a small number of people. These reactions can range from mild to very severe.
Some people from Northern Europe have a birch-pollen allergy. The proteins that cause allergic reactions in birch and pear are very similar, and this can lead to birch-fruit syndrome. The symptoms usually appear within minutes of eating raw pears, and they tend to be localized and clustered. They involve itching and inflammation in the mouth and throat, symptoms consistent with oral allergy syndrome (OAS). The allergen that causes this reaction does not withstand cooking, however, so people with birch-fruit syndrome can tolerate cooked pear in jams, jellies, preserves, and pies. Other foods that may cause similar reactions are apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, melons, some nuts, carrots, and celeriac.
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