Symptoms of food allergies can manifest in a number of ways. However, the best way to determine whether or not someone is allergic to apples is to have then undergo tests performed by a doctor or other healthcare professional. Tests for related and common allergens can be performed at the same time. An allergy specialist is usually needed to evaluate the patient and supervise the testing. Referrals to specialists are available from general practitioners.
Many people who are allergic to apples experience what is known as oral allergy syndrome. When they eat fresh apples or touch their mouths after handling raw apples, they experience inflammation, swelling, and itchiness in the mouth and throat. Individuals with oral allergy syndrome can also react to peaches, carrots, hazelnuts, and a number of other foods that share the proteins found in raw apples.
Other people can develop runny noses, watery eyes, hives, wheezing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting when they eat fresh apples. These symptoms reflect allergic reactions occurring elsewhere in the body. As with people who have oral allergy syndrome, people who are allergic to apples are usually allergic to related fruits and vegetables as well.
Apple allergies involve fresh raw fruit only. Cooking denatures the proteins that lead to allergic reactions. This can make it much easier to narrow down an allergy to apples, as long as people are attentive about noting when allergy symptoms occur. Keeping a food diary can help people identify common triggers related to allergic responses and help them determine whether or not they are allergic to apples.
An allergy specialist will usually interview a patient to collect information that will be used to narrow down potential allergens. People with apple allergies may also have hay fever and other seasonal allergies. The allergy specialist can recommend a prick test where small amounts of allergens are introduced through the skin and the skin is monitored for reactions. This test will confirm that a patient is allergic to apples and can be used again later to see if a patient has grown out of an allergy, as sometimes happens.
Tracking down allergens can be a challenge. Another tactic used by some specialists is a challenge test, where a patient is exposed to small amounts of potential allergens to see how she or he responds. Elimination diets, where the patient's diet is restricted and items are slowly added back in, are another approach. It is important to receive supervision for this type of allergy testing so that in the event that serious symptoms such as anaphylactic shock occur, prompt treatment can be provided.