Peach Allergy

Well, it’s that time of year again. The season of North Carolina Peaches. Pie, ice cream, cobbler, jam, jelly, turnovers, cake, sauce, muffins, bars, clafoutis, scones, and, of course, fresh peaches are some of the delicious results of this season.

What if you are allergic to peaches? It’s the pits!

The major allergen from peach is a 9 kDa (kiloDalton) size protein, Pru p 3 (pathogen-related protein 14), that cross reacts with birch tree pollen.

Peach allergy is frequently reported along with other fresh fruits in the Rosaceae family in the Prunoideae subfamily. These include cherry, peach, apricot and plum. Ingesting these fresh fruits can lead to oral allergy syndrome now called Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome. The symptoms are mouth itching, with or without mild swelling of the lips, tongue, palate (roof of mouth) and pharynx (throat). Rarely is anaphylaxis associated with Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome.

Severe reactions such as anaphylaxis to peaches have been reported but are unusual. Curiously, a 12-year-old boy in Italy suffered anaphylaxis after he ate peach (or cherries), then exercised. Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis is rare.

The 3 approaches to testing for peach allergy:

  • Skin test with commercial extract of peach

  • Fresh/frozen peach skin test

  • Blood test for peach specific IgE

The most helpful test is the use of fresh peach as the amount of peach specific IgE antibody in blood can be too low to detect. During processing, sometimes the fragile proteins of fruit may be changed, affecting the skin test result of commercial extracts. The best “sensitivity and specificity” is obtained with fresh peach.

If you have had a reaction to peach or other fruits, call Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care. I can assist in the diagnosis and individualized treatment plan for food allergies. PS, bring some fresh peaches for testing!