Ariana Grande had to cancel a couple shows on her tour after a serious health scare on Wednesday. On Instagram, the singer revealed that she had "an unfortunate allergic reaction to tomatoes and my throat pretty much closed," she wrote. She compared the sensation to "swallowing a cactus," and shared that she’s making progress and recovering.
This prickly mouth sensation that occurs after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables is actually pretty common, and it's called "oral allergy syndrome" or "pollen fruit syndrome." According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI), this affects about 50-75% of adults who are also allergic to birch tree pollen.
What's the connection between produce and tree pollen? Basically, your body mistakes proteins found in certain produce for allergens found in trees and plants, per the AAAAI. When you eat these foods, your body triggers an allergic response to fight what it thinks are dangerous foreign substances. This leads to some uncomfortable symptoms, such as an itchy or swollen mouth, face, lip, tongue, or throat, according to the AAAAI. In rare cases, OAS can cause anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
Depending upon the seasonal allergens that typically affect you, you could have an allergic reaction to one or many specific varieties of raw fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, for example, tend to affect people with grass allergies, according to the AAAAI. Some other common culprits that can trigger OAS include apples, avocados, celery, melon, peaches, bananas, and cucumbers. Usually, these symptoms flare up around the time that the corresponding allergens are in season.
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update: we discovered ..... that ..... i had an unfortunate allergic reaction to tomatoes and my throat pretty much closed. still feels like i’m swallowing a cactus but slowly making progress! thank u all for your love and understanding. can’t wait to get back to performing and to make it up to Tampa and Orlando in November. p.s. there is NOTHING MORE UNFAIR THAN AN ITALIAN WOMAN DEVELOPING AN ALLERGY TO TOMATOES IN HER MID TWENTIES.......
As Grande pointed out in her post, many people develop OAS when they're in their teens or 20s, even if they never had an issue eating these foods before. Grande said that this is a new thing for her: "there is NOTHING MORE UNFAIR THAN AN ITALIAN WOMAN DEVELOPING AN ALLERGY TO TOMATOES IN HER MID TWENTIES......." she wrote. Unfortunately for tomato-lovers like Grande, the best way to manage OAS is to avoid the raw version of the foods, especially during allergy season. Cooking or peeling the foods can also help to break down some of the proteins in the skin that lead to the reaction.
So, while caprese salad might be off the table for the remainder of Grande's tour, it's worth it to protect her throat and voice.