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csconnelly posted:
My husband has severe in and outdoor allergies, including dust, cockroaches, wood smoke and chamomile. Early in our marriage I gave a him a cup of herbal tea one night before bed and within an hour he was gasping for breath and truly had great difficulty breathing. As I racked my brain trying to think of what we had for dinner and what could have caused his reaction, I realized that the only change or addition to his environment or food intake between dinner and bed was the cup of tea. I have enjoyed that particular tea for years because of its relaxation properties which I've always attributed to the chamomile in the tea. I, of course, got up and got on line researching. Sure enough, chamomile is a member of the ragweed family, as are other substances, such as melons, dandelions, dandelion root, sunflower and, thus, sunflower oil, etc. Since that frightening incident I have been careful to read every food, tea and cosmetic label for any and all ingredients that are members of the ragweed family or to which ragweed allergic folks may have cross-reactions. Needless to say, the list just gets longer and longer and longer. The other day, I brought home a box of decaf Apple Spice Cinnamon tea since we still love tea. I was so mad when I saw chamomile on the ingredients list after I got home. It never occurred to me to check since many companies now feature on the package that the product contains chamomile and, thus, is somehow beneficial and there was no such boast on this package. Besides, who would suspect chamomile in Apple Spice Cinnamon tea? Needless to say, I've been enjoying the tea, but it's off-limits for my husband. I am so frustrated (and getting outraged) about this health hazard for ragweed allergic folks that I am beginning to post, talk, inform about the need to research any and all herbal ingredients if you have allergies. A huge number of products, from food to beverages to cosmetics, to vitamin/nutritional/herbal products at my local natural foods grocery store contain any and all of the ingredients listed above. I go out of my way to talk to and educate the clerks and managers so they can advise customers about possible allergic responses and cross reactions. Whether it is helping, I don't know but I would dearly like to see warning labels on products that have ingredients that are related to possible life threatening allergens. Sorry for the rant, but I thought this was a good place to start. P.S. The new favorite natural sweetener, Stevia, is a member of the ragweed family as well. Be careful and do your research...
sgbl88 responded:
Dealing with food allergies can be a real bear. Thankfully I don't deal with them. I am, however, very sensitive to ANY odor. Unfortunately people and foods do not wear warning labels stating that they are fragrant..

It sounds like you are having a very hard time with learning to avoid problem foods.

Some food allergies are prevelant enough to warrent warning labels like peanut and milk allergies, most are not. The truth of the matter is that someone on earth has a deadly allergy to any substance you can name. There are people that are allergic to water and have to bathe with specail cleansing products.

Sometimes the best we can do is to educate ourselves, do the research and learn to read labels carefully (the ingredient lists are required so that allergic people can avoid their allergens) and cope with our issues ourselves. I suggest that you get a horticultural book (or find a good web site) and make a list of all plants that are related to rag weed and carry it with you whenever you go shopping. One plant you want to add to your list is ecchinacea. That is also related to rag weed.

I would like to add that while I am allergic to rag weed pollen, consuming the plant products you have named above is not a problem for me. I have taken ecchinacea for immune support for quite a while with no ill effects, although I am no longer taking it. I eat sunflower seeds on salads regularly, and I enjoy cantaloupe when someone else cuts it up for me. I have an asthma attack if I cut one up myself.

I assume that your husband has seen an allergist and has been given a prescription for an Epi-pen to use in such events. He needs to carry it on him at all times. Also, some people I know have found taking Benadryl quite helpful in treating such reactions. However, you should be mindful that a trip to the ER maybe necesary and prudent at these times. If he hasn't seen an allergist, he NEEDS to. An allergist can help you identify other foods that he may react to and should avoid.

There is a condition called Oral Allergy Syndrome. This occurs in people who are allergic to rag weed and react to certain foods. Cumcumbers are on that list. My daughter gets "itchy' lips from just smelling a cut cucumber. Oral Allergy Syndrome is what my allergist suggested she has and said that she cannot die from it. She and my husband react to melons, bananas, strawberries and pineapple with a sensation of their throat swelling up. My allergist also suggested that this is the syndrome and not true food allergies to these foods, and thus they are not in real danger from eating them, although it can be quite scary for all of us and I urge them to avoid the foods. You might want to look in to that and keep a list of those foods as well.

Just some thoughts. I pray that you get some help identifying problem foods.

cmf17 responded:
'Oral Allergy Syndrome is what my allergist suggested she has and said that she cannot die from it." Just to clarify that although very rare you can have anaphylaxis to OAS as recently experienced again by my 7yo. The swelling is generally confined to the lips and mouth or itchiness in those areas but in rare cases can cause severe lifethreatening throat swelling requiring an epipen (for my son with sunflower and peanut-peanut being oas rather than systemic Ige reaction) cheers children with anaphylaxis to-barley (IgE) sunflower (oas) peanut(oas) and allergic to sesame

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