Compounds within stone fruit may cause allergic reactions in some people shortly after they eat cherries, peaches or plums. Usually the resulting allergy symptoms are confined to the digestive tract, but some cases include systemic symptoms, which can affect other organs and tissues of the body. Related fruit varieties contained in the Prunus genus include nectarines, mangoes, apricots and almonds. In rare instances, ingestion may cause anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal set of symptoms that affect the whole body.
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Immediately or up to 2 hours after eating stone fruits, the onset of symptoms may include tingling or itching in the mouth and throat. As the University of Maryland (UM) Medical Center relates, allergy symptoms most often occur in the part of the body that contacts the allergen.
When the immune system mistakenly sends histamines and other chemicals to counteract these benign foods, it creates itching sensations in the lining of the mouth and pharynx, the digestive tube that transports food to the esophagus and stomach. Allergic reactions to cherries, plums and similar fruit often generate intense itching.
Swollen lips, eyelids and face may also indicate allergies to stone fruit. Histamines induce an inflammatory response, characterized by swelling of the tongue and throat in addition to itching, as the Cleveland Clinic reports.
Inflammation may affect the skin, especially after handling fruit, resulting in hives, or a rash that looks like raised welts. Heat, redness, tenderness and pain may accompany swelling.
As fruit allergens invade the digestive tract, allergy symptoms may progress through nausea, stomach pain, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Unless patients know about their sensitivities to particular fruits, they may mistake these physical signs for food poisoning by bacterial or toxic contamination. In fact, they may be suffering from allergic reactions to the low-level cyanogenic compounds in Prunus fruits, but only allergy testing can determine the exact source of their illnesses.
When the inflammatory response triggered by histamine levels in the blood creates internal swelling, or angioedema, patients may experience breathing trouble. Swollen mucous membranes can cause runny or stuffy noses and difficulty swallowing. These may culminate in airway obstruction and shortness of breath. The Cleveland Clinic advises patients to pay strict attention to respiratory allergy symptoms, which may be finite or which may swiftly get worse.
The most severe allergic reaction to stone fruit, anaphylaxis, adds cardiovascular instability to breathing problems, as the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. A sharp drop in blood pressure may lead to light-headedness and fainting, with respiratory and cardiac arrest possible. This medical emergency requires immediate paramedic attention by calling 911.