Monday, October 20, 2008

List: Allergies

I got a new cereal at Trader Joes the other day.

As is usually the case when it's a TJ product, there were the usual allergy warnings: Processed with nuts etc. This warning is important for allergy-sufferers like me to take note of, but I have learned that those words lead to a wide variety of outcomes. For example, the dry-roasted and salted Almonds at TJ's has this warning, but I have very little reaction, maybe a tiny beginning of a hive on my skin sometimes, whereas the raw almonds at Costco with the same warning cause intense itching in my mouth and throat...danger! danger!

So, I read this warning on the TJ Chocolate-filled whole grain cereal, and what I usually do is sample the product and wait. I usually know within 5 to 10 minutes if I can proceed with this item. In the case of the cereal, I had no adverse reaction, so I poured myself a bowl, and enjoyed the rich, chocolatey goodness of the cereal.

It was not until that evening when my husband was checking on the calories that he read the ingredients list (I skipped this over, and just scrolled down to the allergy listings), and there it was: HAZELNUT.

Hazelnut is something I have avoided since I was told I was allergic to tree nuts over 15 years ago. But, apparently I am not allergic to hazelnuts. This surprises me and also does not surprise me because I ate peanuts everyday of my life until I found out I am allergic to them about 2 years ago. I took a break from eating them even though I didn't believe the blood tests, and when I accidentally ate 1 chip that was made with peanut oil, I knew I was HIGHLY allergic to peanuts. On that same visit my doctor told me I was no longer allergic to almonds, and it took me a long time to believe her and try them. Those blood tests don't lie.

And they're expensive. My insurance does not cover allergy testing, and when I got retested a few years ago, it cost me a pretty penny and a half. But I did not include hazelnuts in my list, and now I want to know the status of pine nuts, because I pass on dishes all the time because of PESTO!

So, a gajillion paragraphs later, here is the list of what I think (know) I am allergic to:

I avoid all fish, though I remember tasting some trout once with no adverse reaction
most other nuts (exception almonds, haselnut?)
mango (not sure if I have proof, but I have a feeling I am)

anything alive


anything living


It seems like there are more. I am so grateful I am only allergic to 40% of the 10 most common dietary allergies (indicated in red):

Tree nuts
Gluten / wheat

This paragraph from the allergy101 website makes me think that I will never be completely out-of-the-woods in this area of my life:

"Allergies can change over time. In some cases, you can actually lose some allergies and gain others. You can also find that you add allergies over time. Be sure to stay aware of how you feel after eating and pay attention to your diet."

I am armed with 2 prescription allergy medications, an OTC one and an epipen, so I think I am safe!


Chloe said...

GIRL, I think I am qualified to leave the first comment on this post :) I'm so glad that you carry your epi pen now.

And I love that you are allergic to anything alive...including cockroaches. I think it goes without saying that we are ALL allergic to cockroaches :)

Kage said...

Oh yeah, I am even allergic to some people. ; )

wendysue said...

It's crazy that my only allergy (and I'd say one of the most common) is NOT one of yours. . .Penicillin!

Kage said...

wendysue, erythromiocin (sp) I believe is a form of penicillin....I am not put on that very much....I think b/c of that....

A-me said...

Sounds like our household... LL and Izzard have most of what you listed and a few others.. esp LL... Eman has some signs of the allergies... it's fun to be in our house! I always have two epi's on me.. one for LL and one for the Izzard.

I'm the only one allergy free! Although I probably just jinx myself. Dang it. ;)

wendysue said...

True, true, I should remember from my medical background that if you're allergic to erythro, they aren't going to give you penicllin either. . .same family.

I'm so impressed with your ability to still eat at all (I'm sure you feel that way sometimes) it was hard enough just trying to elimnate dairy and soy when I had to.

beth said...

After this experience I have had with Audrey I am so sympathetic to allergy sufferers. I am now not eating eggs, dairy, and nuts because of her reactions. I am the crazy label reader at the grocery store. I guess you just get used to it, but never having dealt with allergies before it is pretty overwhelming. I can't believe you are allergic to so many things!

And I heard that sometimes the blood tests are inconclusive. This mom was telling me that her daughter's test came back negative for a peanut allergy so they gave her some peanut butter and spent the whole day in the ER! Yikes.

Kage said...

blood tests should always be followed up with scratch tests especially for the high allergens. Since I had multitude of scratch tests when first diagnosed years ago, and have had many an allergy situation, I believed the blood tests, I did not need to follow up.

merathon said...

my 5 1/2 year old daughter just got the scratch test for the first time last week-- 60 little dots all over her back. i felt so bad for her. we found out she is allergic to a few trees, all grasses, cats, dogs, feathers, dust, and dust mites. the doctor wants us to consider doing the 3-5 year process of allergy injections, that are a pain, but apparently after they are all done, your system has a tolerance for the previous allergens so you no longer have to worry about it! is this something you could do? you have SO many to have to think about!