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Allergies and Itching in the Mouth

Dear Dr. Kagen:

It seems that every now and then when my allergies ( hay fever?) are bad my mouth gets itchy and burny inside. I get little bumps that come and go-it doesn't seem to have any connection to what I eat except that acidic foods irritate it when it's in an "itchy" state. All of my other symptoms will clear up but this discomfort seems to last for month or two. It is not yeast related according to my doctor.I have tried gargling with everything and have used a steroid dental paste. Nothing seems to work. Any explanation or suggestions? Also I went through a 2 month period where my lips were swelling. Never could find out why. My son recently had his upper lip swell. He too has allergies. Is this "lip thing" a coincidence or could there be something hereditary going on? Our allergist said food allergies are hard to test- my son is allergic to shrimp as he got hives all over his body. Otherwise neither of us has ever eaten then immediately reacted to anything. Could the swelling of the lips be due to something other than allergies? Thanks for your help.


Dear Sandy,

Thanks Sandy for asking about allergies and an itchy mouth and swollen lips.

There is an important connection between having allergies to inhalant pollen allergens and foods which you may be eating.

Most people believe that if they are allergic to pollens that they are allergic to the pollens themselves. In reality, it is the allergens inside of the pollen that induces the allergic symptoms of itching, sneezing and wheezing. So, patients are not really allergic to pollen. They are allergic to, and sensitive to, the allergens within the plants' reproductive material.

Related allergens that are within pollen may also be in foods we eat. Grass allergens are also present in tomato, potato skins, onions and other "cousins' of grass.

Birch like pollen allergens can be found in apples, peaches, pears and other pitted fruits as well as in celery and carrots.

Ragweed allergens are present in banana, watermelon, other melons and in sunflower seeds.

Patients with pollen allergy need to be aware of these relationships. This may or may not explain your symptoms, but it is a starting point for your discussions with your own Allergy Specialist.

Good luck.

Steve Kagen, M.D.