Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just when you think you know everything about your body...

Having been alive for... a while... I thought I knew pretty much all there is to know about myself and my body. So imagine my surprise when I'm suddenly allergic to watermelon. But only sometimes. My ex-husband brought one over for family dinner night (we have the best divorce EVER) grown in his friend's garden. Of course he nibbled while he prepared it, and within a minute his throat started swelling up. I had one bite before his symptoms started, and my mouth got incredibly itchy.

Being logical people, we assumed we were imagining it, because we had eaten plenty of watermelon before. (Being a writer, I assumed someone had injected the watermelon with poison, because that's what a character in a novel would do.)

But lo and behold, I looked it up, and apparently people who are allergic to ragweed will suddenly become allergic to certain other foods during the ragweed season -- all kinds of melons, cucumbers, zucchini. And boy oh boy, am I ever allergic to ragweed! And my ex-husband is too.

This ragweed pollen is having plant sex in my nose RIGHT NOW!

It never happened before, probably because I don't like melons much. I always wondered at that -- I like every other food in the world, except melons, which are pretty innocuous. Maybe my taste buds were just protecting me from anaphylaxis.

But isn't that odd? Apparently it only happens during ragweed season, and only with melons that are grown in a ragweed-y area. (And yes, I washed the melon, so pollen wasn't introduced from the outside.)

But it's not just ragweed. If you are allergic to other kinds of pollen, there are a whole host of foods to which you might be seasonally allergic. Mayo Clinic has a list.

This was completely new to me!



Marlena Cassidy said...

That is supremely odd. I wonder if that happens to me as well - I don't like melons either, so I've never had that happen to me, but now I'm frightened to eat watermelon!

I hope you and your ex-husband get better soon.

Laura L. Sullivan said...

It only lasted about an hour, though I read it can be as bad as full anaphylaxis in some people. Watermelon is the only kind I can even tolerate, and I only eat that to be polite if someone serves it, so I've probably only eaten it five times in my life... and apparently never in ragweed season. Scary how the body can turn on you!

Anachronist said...

The fact that some crops are sprayed with different herbicides might be also a factor when it comes to allergies. Poor you and your ex-husband! Is there any treatment available?

Laura L. Sullivan said...

That might be -- though this one was home-grown and supposed to be organic, no chemicals at all.

I think I'll just avoid watermelons!

Shanan, The Book Addict said...

Wow. I had not heard about this but I sent a link to the post to a friend of mine who is also allergic to ragweed.


Jinny ( said...

I wonder if this is the case with me too ... I have eaten nectarines and cherries all my life, but recently a month or so ago, I suddenly discovered I was allergic to them!