Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

1. I have had two allergic reactions to shrimp. Is it possible to only be allergic to shrimp or do I need to avoid eating other shellfish as well?
Strict avoidance of shellfish and food containing shellfish is the only sure way you can prevent another reaction if you have a true shellfish allergy. Your physician may be able to identify if you are only allergic to shrimp. However, for most people allergic to shellfish, all shellfish need to be avoided. Avoid the following on a shellfish-free diet: abalone, clams, crab, crawfish, crayfish, lobster, oysters, scallops, shrimp, cockle, sea urchin, and mussels.

2. My son was just diagnosed with an allergy to corn. I am overwhelmed as it seems every food label I read has corn listed as an ingredient. I am not sure what to feed him and was also hoping you could recommend some cookbooks that might be helpful.
You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed with your son’s corn allergy. It is a difficult one to manage and as you have discovered corn and corn products are ingredients in many commercially prepared food products primarily as corn sweeteners and cornstarch. Click here for more information on corn allergy and a listing of foods and products your son should avoid. Sweeteners, thickeners, and leavening agents, such as fruit juices, beet or cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, wheat starch, rice and potato starch, tapioca, baking soda, and cream of tartar can be used as alternatives when cooking. Diligent label reading, along with a healthy diet using corn-free products and foods made from scratch becomes a necessity.

3. Cookbook Recommendations

The Way to Cook by Julia Child
Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
Rosie’s Bakery All Butter Fresh Cream Sugar Packed No Holds Barred Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

4. My husband is allergic to sulfites. What foods should he avoid?
Sulfites are sulfur-based preservatives used to enhance food products and maintain the stability and potency of some medications. They also occur naturally in some foods. Watch for these six names used for sulfites when reading food, beverage and medication labels: sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, and potassium metabisulfite. Also check with a pharmacist and/or physician prior to taking any prescription or OTC medications to make sure they are sulfite free. Foods that may contain sulfites include: Baked goods, Soup mixes, Jams, Canned vegetables, Pickled foods, Gravies, Dried fruit, Potato chips, Trail mix, Beer and wine, Vegetable juices, Bottled lemon and lime juices, Tea, Condiments, Molasses, Fresh or frozen shrimp, Guacamole, Maraschino cherries, Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes.

5. Every time I eat coconut, I start to feel sick and develop a rash, and become itchy. Can this be an allergic reaction?
Allergic reactions to foods may cause symptoms that can affect your skin (rash, hives, tingling sensation of mouth), breathing (difficulty breathing, wheezing, swelling of tongue and throat), or digestion (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea). Symptoms generally will appear within minutes to two hours after you have eaten. Your symptoms of feeling sick along with the development of an itchy rash after eating coconut sound suspicious for allergy. However, to be sure you have a true allergy to coconut you should see a board-certified allergist. Go to ACAAI’s Allergist Locator or AAAAI’s Physician Referral Directory to locate allergists near you.