‘Know Your Risk’ – the Royal College of Pathologists runs a campaign at the Chelsea Flower Show to raise awareness of allergies to wheat, apples and carrots, according to FreshInfo.
What’s going on? The Chelsea Flower Show is a very upmarket gardening show. Pathologists study the causes of disease and death. Relationship: the bad effects some edible plants can have on your body.
Unusual as the combination of the Chelsea Flower Show and pathology might seem, apparently the RCP estimate that 3-6% of Britons are unable to tolerate one of these three: wheat, apples and carrots. Coeliac UK estimates that 1% have coeliac disease, which means that allergies to apples and carrots must be surprisingly high.
Coeliac disease is best known – though experience tells me it isn’t all that well known, and isn’t usually described as an allergy (though I will admit, it does make it easier to explain to people if you say ‘allergy’).
Oral Allergy Syndrome can be precipitated by apples (and a long list of other foods). This is more like an allergy: itching or swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth or throat, and sounds very unpleasant. It isn’t an allergy to the food, but a syndrome that develops in hay fever sufferers – the immune system mistakes the food proteins for the pollen proteins, and causes an allergic reaction. Apples are a cause, but also almonds, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, plums and walnuts.
Symptoms of carrot allergies range from mild, through abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting (sound familiar?) to life-threatening anaphylaxsis. Not at all good.
So – round of applause, please, for the RCP for raising awareness. Coincidentally, this would have been immediately after Coeliac Awareness Week 2007.
I wonder whether it would have been possible to eat gluten free at the Chelsea Flower Show?