Food allergies impact more than 50 million people in the United States, including both children and adults. The most common food allergies include peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat gluten, and shellfish. And while some people experience reactions to certain foods from birth, others find out in adulthood that they can no longer tolerate a particular ingredient. Many people experience mild allergic symptoms, but others can develop anaphylaxis – a severe and potentially fatal reaction to a trigger substance. Additionally, people with serious allergies need to be aware of possible reactions among related foods or even non-food items! Read on to learn more about which foods and substances you should avoid if you suffer from one of the allergies below:
Peanuts and Tree Nuts
Increasing peanut allergy rates have resulted in food restrictions at schools, workplaces, and even among airlines, which were well-known for serving the tasty legume to hungry travelers. However, peanut allergy sufferers – particularly those with extreme reactions – should also steer clear of tree nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.) both due to an increased risk of an allergy, and the likelihood of cross-contamination. The good news is that many people with peanut allergies find they can still eat other legumes like soybeans, peas, and beans.
Bananas and Latex
If this superfood isn’t so super in your book, you may need to avoid other fruits like apples, papayas and kiwis. However, you could also be allergic to latex, which is frequently used in products like bandages, baby pacifiers and balloons. Latex is produced using sap from rubber trees, and has similar proteins to those present in certain fruits and vegetables. While some people experience asthma symptoms or hives in response, latex exposure has also triggered life-threatening anaphylaxis in people with more severe allergies – resulting in many medical practices switching to non-latex gloves and equipment when possible.
Those allergic to cow’s milk may miss eating cream-based sauces, ice cream, cheese, and other staples of the American diet. Unfortunately, turning to goat’s milk or buffalo mozzarella to beat your dairy craving is also a bad plan: more than 90% of people with cow’s milk allergies are also reactive to the milk of other mammals, and some even have trouble consuming beef. In this case, the ever-expanding array of soy, rice and coconut milk-based substitutes may be your best bet!
Shellfish and Dust Mites
Shellfish belong to two families – crustaceans like crab, lobster and shrimp, and mollusks, which include clams, oysters and scallops. Though cross-reactivity is more common within a family, people who are allergic to crustaceans may also be allergic to mollusks, and vice versa. While those with shellfish allergies should generally avoid most seafood-oriented restaurants out of cross-contamination fears, sufferers may be more susceptible to a certain non-food allergy trigger as well: dust mites. These arthropods contain the same major allergy-inducing protein as shellfish. Luckily, anaphylaxis is rare in dust mite allergies, though when exposure occurs, asthma and other seasonal allergy-like symptoms can result.
Pollen and Produce
If spring and summer allergies hit you hard, you may also have trouble with another product of the growing season: fruits and vegetables. Many varieties can cause symptoms, but apples, stone fruits, melons, tomatoes and carrots are especially common triggers for people with birch, ragweed or mugwort pollen allergies or a sensitivity to certain grasses. Symptoms tend to be less severe than some other food allergies, and often involve tingling or swelling of the mouth or lips, and gastrointestinal issues. Occasionally, cooking can stave off symptoms by destroying the pollen-like proteins in the food.
If you’re unsure of the cause of your allergic symptoms, contact a Crittenton provider today to learn more about testing and treatment options!