This time last year my family was in the throes of learning about Oral Allergy Syndrome first-hand. We consider this a fortunate turn of events for our oldest's menu. Before knowing about OAS, if my kiddo showed a reaction to food it was banned from the diet. Learning that they have OAS & probably PST enzyme deficiency actually paved a path that’s enabled us to broaden the menu a great deal.
Not to miss the mark – this does not in any way mean things are easier. It means with the encroaching fall allergens, we have to step up our vigilance of how frequently certain foods are eaten. If we do not keep the cross-allergen foods rationed, there will be a systemic flare-up. And it can barrel down on them like a loaded eighteen-wheeler on the highway.
And that comes with a lot of weight behind it. We’ve figured out that the majority of my kid's illnesses are allergies gone wild. Keeping them healthy is more than a passing thought. It has to be in the fast lane.
Monitoring food intake – quantity & frequency.
Checking local pollen counts every morning.
Watching throughout the day for any type of symptoms.
Scaling back whichever food got them flared up for a few days.
Readjusting for their threshold of tolerance.
For my kiddo, it’s not simply an irritant that will go away on it’s own. And if we miss the mark, allergies quickly go beyond flare-up to illness. In a sense, fall is our time to be traffic directors. Constantly on the watch at a busy 5-point intersection with a broken light. Illness can come crashing down overnight. Thankfully, we’ve found an antibiotic that their body tolerates when a crash happens. And for the asthma the only tool we have is the old-school comfort of a steamy bathroom.
If you are new to OAS, here’s a day in the life of:
Most of the year my kid can eat bananas every day. It’s a cross-allergen with ragweed. In the fall, they can only eat 2-3 bananas a week spaced out at least every other day. That was last fall’s threshold. This year could be different. Any more than that and eczema flares up. They get a stuffy nose, earaches and the beginnings of asthma kick in.
The other part of the equation is how much environmental allergens play into it. There are multiple allergens & multiple foods.
They cannot eat peaches and bananas on the same day regardless of the season. In the fall, they cannot eat them on days next to each other. So if they have a banana on Monday they can’t have banana or peach on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday they could have peach and no banana again until Friday.
Balancing foods in the fall to mitigate illness can be a fast & furious white-knuckled ride. It’s time for us to buckle up & hold on to ride out the season. With any luck, we’ll come through the finish line unscathed of illness.