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Jun 7, 2004 01:10 PM

bizarre cheese-mouth reaction

  • m

The weirdest thing happened the other day....I ate a bite of some appelenzer (spelling?) and my mouth almost instantly felt itchy and then after a few minutes it felt like it had many tiny cuts in it. I am not allergic to cheese, and I've eaten tons of different kinds of it in the past. My throat didn't close up nor did I have any other signs of anaphalactic shock. Significant other tasted it and said it was "weird" but he didn't have the same reaction. The feeling went away after I ate some plain crackers and rinsed my mouth out a lot.

Any ideas?! Has this ever happened to anyone else?

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  1. No ideas what causes it, but the same happens to me from time to time with certain cheese and almost always with fuji apples.

    7 Replies
    1. re: HLing

      Hmm, I remember I knew someone with a reaction to apples, but it was ok if she peeled the skins. No idea on the cheese thing.

      1. re: Chris VR
        Caitlin McGrath

        It's a not unusual allergic reaction to fruits. My co-hound gets that itchy-mouth reaction to raw apples (even peeled) and cherries, and to peach skins (okay if peeled).

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          The strange reaction I get to some cheeses - seems common with more potent blues - is a "take your breath" away sensation. Not so severe that I can't breathe, but it does contribute a head rush and heart rate eleveation that makes eating these cheeses a more visceral experience.

          Do others have this sensation or is it just "itchy mouth"?


        2. re: Chris VR

          Other apples are usually OK, skin and all.

          When there IS a reaction to Parmaggiano Reggiano, it's similar but much more raspy than the reaction to fuji apples.

        3. re: HLing

          I don't mind adding to the discussion 7 years later because people like me will still search discussions on various topics such as this one.

          I get this reaction also. Certain cheeses, particularly aged, mature, or blue cheeses (but not always.) It happens with a lot of apples-- especially skin-on and eaten to the core. Ripe bananas. Anything other than VERY fresh eggplant. And more I can't remember. I still eat these foods despite the uncomfortable reaction. I know this is against Doctor recommendations but I think many of them are trying to avoid lawsuits. Me, I think of it as a sort of innoculization or desensitization process to keep exposing myself to these foods. Plus I'm a foodie-- what do you want me to do? :P Not eat cheese?!?

          I also have a wide variety of reactions to various nuts and seeds.
          Can't do walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans or peanuts at all, but eat most all others despite the reaction. Sunflower seeds are the worst of the tolerable.

          My boyfriend gets it only with certain cheeses and nothing else.

          Drinking fizzy drinks and gargling help the symptoms pass.

          1. re: globalgourmand

            I hear you. I self diagnosed myself with a birch allergy a few years ago after cnn had something on it (a link to one article is here ).
            I'll still have an apple now and then but quickly followed by some benadryl and a nap.

            1. re: HunterJay

              Okay, that got my attention. One day I was given a piece of candy made with a sweetener derived from birch sap, and immediately experienced my first and only major histamine reaction. Luckily I was in the presence of our art director, a woman who's allergic to damn near everything and so always has a good antihistamine handy. "Willy, you're all red and swole up!" she cried, and handed me a couple of pills, which also had an almost immediate effect. The candy was from Sweden, I think, and was being test-marketed. I never saw or heard of it again, so I'm guessing mine was not an isolated case.

        4. i have this reaction to swiss and havarti. domestic or imported, doesn't matter. sometimes the same thing happens with tomatoes. and maybe a half dozen times it's happened with carrots. i have to avoid the swiss because the reaction progressed through my teen years ( i worked in a restaurant and would sneak into the walk in cooler to nibble on chunks of cheese, i paid karmically i guess) to a near instantaneous reaction that is pretty gross, but if you must know, my gums split and bleed if i don't drink 5 or 6 consecutive glasses of ice water. yuck. The tomato/carrot thing does not have the same severity and doesn't seem to get worse.
          now, the allergy people tell me that i am extremely allergic to mold and some proteins and that cheese allergies are probably from the mold being similar. i am admonished every week to leave all of the cheese out of my diet. since swiss causes me such obvious problems, and because i haven't had any in about 2 years, its the only one i can bear to leave out completely. someday....
          The tomato thing, they told me 'well, that's a nightshade, a lot of people have problems with those.'
          and for the carrots, they just sort of sighed. this institute isn't equipped to find everything in a carrot and then prick test every compound on my arm. and i couldn't afford it anyway.
          so, the short answer is, if you get your reaction from that cheese again, leave it off the plate, unless you want a cool gum bleeding party trick.
          best of luck,

          1. I had the same thing happen to me years ago at Patina Restaurant in Los Angeles area. During the cheese course, I asked for the sharpest, ripest cheese on the tray. It was a brown color with a powerful smell. It was a very small slice. I put a small amount in my mouth and it took over my mouth, dulled all the taste buds, took over the salivary glands, and basically scared the hell out of me. In about half a minute it all passed. Then I did it again. At that point it was like a restaurant thrill ride. Never happened with anything else, cheese or non cheese.

            1. b

              I got the itchy-mouth and swelling throat reaction once to a piece of poached chicken (no seasonings). I sat open-mouthed, afraid to chew any more. Luckily, the feeling passed in less than a minute.

                  1. re: globalgourmand

                    I forgot raw peas too. That one is real unpleasant.

                    1. re: globalgourmand

                      I recently had this with an avocado and my allergist said certain fruits will do it to many people, even if they aren't at all allergic. In that "family" are avocado, kiwi, banana, pineapple. I get the same reaction with all aforementioned fruits, but none of them make me "sick" and I'm not allergic.

                      I guess they have something or other in them that causes an unpleasant feeling in the mouth. Above poster stating she was allergic to mold and had aged cheese reactions seems to make sense though in regards to the OP. Never thought about it, but very interesting!