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Honeydew Melon and Numb Lips

By Diane Marks

If eating honeydew melon causes your lips to go numb, you may have oral allergy syndrome or a general food allergy. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of lip numbing when you eat melon. Before your appointment, keep a food diary that details the foods that cause adverse reactions in your body. A challenge diet may help identify if any other foods cause a similar reaction. In rare cases, numb lips may develop swelling, which may be a sign of a severe allergic reaction.

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome is a condition that can cause tingling, itching or numbing in your lips, mouth or tongue after eating certain fruits, such as melons. This condition is triggered by an allergic reaction to pollen and is not the same as a general food allergy. Oral allergy syndrome mostly affects people with asthma or hay fever who eat raw fruits and vegetables. Symptoms from this condition typically begin immediately after consuming the honeydew melon and do not last for more than an hour. Symptoms are localized and do not affect any other areas of your body.

Ragweed Pollen

If you develop numb lips after consuming honeydew melon, you may have an allergy to ragweed pollen. Ragweed is a common weed that produces the most pollen during the spring and summer months. When you eat honeydew melon, your immune system identifies the proteins in the fruit as if they were ragweed pollen. This triggers a localized chemical reaction in your mouth, lips and throat that could cause a numbing sensation. Other fruits that may trigger a similar reaction include watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, zucchini, bananas and chamomile tea, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Treatment

Treating oral allergy syndrome symptoms may include avoiding honeydew melon, cooking the fruit or participating in sublingual immunotherapy. Cooking the melon may help prevent symptoms because the protein structures are modified. Sublingual immunotherapy treatment uses extracts from the allergen and places a small amount under your tongue so your immune system builds a tolerance for the allergen.

General Allergy Consideration

It’s possible that the numbing sensation in your lips is caused by a general food allergy. A general food allergy will cause other symptoms to develop, such as digestive complications, skin rashes and asthma. If you notice alarming symptoms such as swollen lips, difficulty breathing and a changed heartbeat, get immediate emergency medical help by calling 911.

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