An Apple a Day

Ever heard of Oral Allergy Syndrome?  I’ve got it.  It means I have an allergic reaction to apples.  That’s right, apples.  A pretty good summary from Wikipedia:

OAS sufferers may have any of a number of allergic reactions that usually occur very rapidly, within minutes of eating a trigger food. The most common reaction is an itching or burning sensation in the lips, mouth, and/or pharynx. Sometimes other  reactions can be triggered in the eyes, nose, and skin. Swelling of the lips, tongue,  and uvula and a sensation of tightness in the throat may be observed. Seldom it can  result in anaphylaxis.

Not fun.  Especially the tightness in the throat.  I basically gave up apples for the past 15 years or so.  I love them, though, and I eat so few healthy things.  So, after a recent visit to the State Farmer’s Market, which was basically an apple-stravaganza, I realized I really wanted to be able to eat them.  I little research on OAS reveals that it is most severe when one’s immune system is already primed by pollen and as there’s no pollen out now, I’m in good shape.  Additionally, oral antihistamines should be effective.  So, with the help of Zyrtec I’ve now had an apple a day for about the past two weeks.  I really don’t like the idea of taking an antihistamine just to eat an apple, though, I suspect it would be unpleasant to skip the Zyrtec.  I’ve been taking only half a pill an hour before I eat the apple (I researched to see that Zyrtec reaches maximum plamsma concentration after an hour).  Yesterday, largely in a cost-saving effort, I went with a 1/4 Zyrtec and was successful.  Hooray for me.

I’ve also greatly been enjoying experimenting with different apple cultivars.  So far, can’t beat the Gala, in my opinion.  Honeycrisp was good and so was the Jazz, but no better than the Gala despite being more gourmet types.  I had one Pink Lady that was totally bland– people love those so I suppose I should try another.  The Cameos I got at the Farmer’s Market were excellent, but I haven’t seen them in any of my stores.

Okay, surely I’ve bored you about apples now, but it is my latest obsession.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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