Are You One of the 67 Million Americans Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?

What are Allergies and Its Symptoms

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, their immune systems are working too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations.

Allergens can stimulate an immune response when you breathe in or touch the allergen, or by ingestion of food or beverage, or from injections of medication.

Common allergies include eczema, hives, hay fever, and asthma. You can get an allergic reactions from food, pet dander, airborne pollen, and the venom of stinging insects, such as wasps and bees. Treatments for allergies include avoidance, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other medications, and immunotherapy to desensitize the allergic response.

Can You Be Allergic To Tampons? 7 Things To Know If You’re Feeling Itchy Down South, According To An Expert

No allergy is fun, but being allergic to tampons and pads is a nightmare on a whole new level. As with many other allergies, there’s usually an itchy, painful red rash involved — except it’s on your nether regions. It may not be as obvious as you might think at first, but the good news is that you’re definitely not alone, says Dr. Gail King, MD, FACOG, author of Legs Up! The Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Your Vagina, in an interview with Bustle. Even if you may sometimes feel like you’re the only one having these problems (a sense of isolation which may or may not have to do with the fact that our society seems to want to keep a lid on any conversation related to reproductive and women’s health), it’s really not just you.

I’ve used a particular type of pads ever since I started my period at the age of 13, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized the regular itching I experienced during my period probably wasn’t normal. And then, what started out as a simple itch during a period that lasted longer than usual blew up into the most uncomfortable, painful prickling on my vulva that I didn’t even know was possible.

I tried taking a nice, warm shower, to no avail. It was a bizarre experience, particularly because I’ve never thought of myself as having sensitive skin, so an allergy didn’t even cross my mind until I decided to apply topical cream and start using all-cotton pads from the local drugstore. The itchy, red rash finally faded after a few days.

To those of you who’ve had similar experiences, I totally get it. Here’s what you should know if you’re tired of playing host to red sand dunes:

1. You May Be Allergic For Various Reasons

Most of the time, women aren’t allergic to just one or two ingredients in whatever they’re using. “Tampons and pads are highly processed products. They may have cotton, they may have other synthetic fibers but all of them are processed and sterilized with chemicals,” King says. For instance, one chemical often used to give paper towels, toilet paper, and pads their white color can lead to common allergic reactions in the vaginal area, a moist environment that readily absorbs substances into the skin.

10 Eating Tips to Help You Minimize Allergy Symptoms

Allergy and Asthma Symptom Relievers

1 / 11   Allergy and Asthma Symptom Relievers

If you endure the itchy eyes, runny nose, and congestion of allergies, or the shortness of breath and wheezing of asthma, your doctor may prescribe one of a variety of antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and other drugs to tame your allergy symptoms. But making simple changes to your diet may also help you feel better. Here are 10 allergy-fighting foods and drinks you may want to try.

Sip a Cup of  Green Tea

2 / 11   Sip a Cup of Green Tea

“Tea, especially green tea, with or without caffeine, is very good for people with allergies,” says Murray Grossan, MD, an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Los Angeles. Tea contains natural antihistamines, he says, which makes it a great addition to your diet to reduce allergy symptoms. Histamine is a chemical that your body releases during allergic reactions. Grossan especially recommends a morning cup of hot tea just when you get up to help prevent morning sneezing.

Avoid Spicy Foods When Pollen Counts Are High

3 / 11   Avoid Spicy Foods When Pollen Counts Are High

Some people with seasonal allergies can enjoy a diet of spicy Thai and scorching Mexican foods during part of the year, but not when high pollen counts are triggering their allergy symptoms, Grossan says. That’s because spicy foods create an “outpouring of histamine” that only bothers you when it’s added to the histamine produced by your seasonal allergies. When your allergy symptoms are acting up, skip the spicy stuff.

Consider a Mediterranean Diet

4 / 11   Consider a Mediterranean Diet

There is some research to support the idea that adhering to a Mediterranean diet increases a person’s chance of controlling their asthma, according to a 2013 report in the Journal of Asthma. This diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, with a lesser amount of meat.

Don't Eat Raw Foods at the Height of Allergy Season

5 / 11   Don’t Eat Raw Foods at the Height of Allergy Season

Among other raw foods, raw apples or pesticides on lettuce may bother your allergies. During the height of allergy season, when symptoms are really bothering you, cut fresh foods out of your diet and stick with canned and cooked foods, Grossan suggests. Cooking foods lessens your risk of developing allergy symptoms. So switching from, say, fresh apples to applesauce may help.

Try Some Wasabi

6 / 11   Try Some Wasabi

Wasabi, the pungent green paste served with sushi in Japanese restaurants, might be helpful in opening up your nose and helping you breathe better when you have allergy symptoms, Grossan says. The next time your nose is plugged up, drop into a sushi restaurant for a bit of wasabi. It might do the trick if you can tolerate the heat. This method isn’t guaranteed, however, as wasabi also has the potential to unleash more allergy-related histamine in your system.

Eat Yogurt and Other Probiotics

7 / 11   Eat Yogurt and Other Probiotics

Grossan strongly recommends that people with allergy symptoms add yogurt and other sources of probiotics to their diet. Probiotics are known as “friendly bacteria,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Typically these are listed on labels as lactobacillus or bifidobacterium and are similar to bacteria found in your digestive tract. Probiotics, which you can get from yogurt, miso, fermented milk, and dietary supplements, can help regulate your immune system so you’ll have fewer allergy symptoms.

Go Low-Cal and Lose Weight

8 / 11   Go Low-Cal and Lose Weight

Researchers have found that being obese may actually worsen asthma. A recent study compiling 15 earlier studies on weight loss and asthma found that, in all of them, researchers observed some asthma improvement after subjects lost weight. So if you weigh too much and your allergy symptoms include asthma, changing your diet and controlling your weight may help.

Stick to a Low-Salt Diet

9 / 11   Stick to a Low-Salt Diet

Studies have found that eating a diet higher in salt may be associated with more severe asthma, and small studies have found that eating a low-salt diet can improve lung function, decrease symptoms, and reduce the need for medications in people with asthma. Good ways to reduce salt in your diet include eating plenty of fresh vegetables and cutting down on processed foods like frozen dinners and canned soups.

Up Your Omega-3 Intake

10 / 11   Up Your Omega-3 Intake

Some research indicates that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful for reducing asthma symptoms. In one study, researchers had 23 adults with asthma take an omega-3 supplement or placebo for five weeks. Those taking the omega-3s had lower levels of a marker of airway inflammation. You can get more omega-3s in your diet by eating fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and albacore tuna.

Skip the Fast Food

11 / 11   Skip the Fast Food

Looking for yet another reason to limit how many burgers and fries you eat? A New Zealand study of more than 1,300 kids found that those who ate hamburgers occasionally or at least once a week were more likely to have asthma symptoms than kids who never ate burgers. The good news: A diet designed to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms with foods like fruits and vegetables and fish might not leave a lot of room for fast food.

Are Food Allergies On The Rise? Experts Say They Don’t Know

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says it’s hard to know how many people in the U.S. actually have food allergies or whether they’re on the rise.

Part of the challenge is this: Food allergies are often self-diagnosed and symptoms can be misinterpreted. Sometimes people can’t distinguish a food allergy from other conditions such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, which don’t fit the medical definition of an allergy.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about what a food allergy is,” says Dr. Virginia Stallings, a board-certified nutrition pediatrician at the The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the chair of the committee that wrote the new report.

One scenario is this: A parent of a young child introduces a new food — say, milk — into the diet, and then notices the child has an upset stomach or other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

The parent may suspect a food allergy. But, perhaps, these are signs of lactose intolerance — a completely different condition.

“The reason food allergy symptoms are often confused with other [conditions] such as lactose intolerance is because there’s an overlap in some of the symptoms,” Stallings explains.

An allergy is an immune response to a food or other substance that is normally harmless. Common symptoms include hives and swelling or GI distress. Food allergies can be life threatening. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, means a person can’t easily digest the natural sugar found in milk. And, as the American Academy of Pediatrics points out in this FAQ on the topic, “while lactose intolerance can cause a great deal of discomfort, it will not produce a life-threatening reaction such as anaphylaxis.”

A Guide to Cannabis Allergies and Symptoms

A Growing Need for Information About Cannabis Allergies

Nobody likes allergies, right? In fact, everyone I know absolutely despises them. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergieseach year. Cumulatively, that’s a huge number of people who will experience some sort of allergic reaction at a point in their life, whether it be to a particular variety of food, pollen, mold, or perhaps a more specific irritant such as cats.

What if, however, you found yourself with an allergic reaction to your job, or to something you greatly enjoyed, or, even worse, to something that you need? Stories of cannabis allergies have been emerging at a growing rate since legalization and reveal that they can frequently strike down budtenders, recreational consumers, and medical patients with a variety of symptoms.

Can Cannabis Users Donate Blood?

For example, here is one of the typical communications we receive on the topic:

“I have tried one medical marijuana, and I used it for about 12 days. I found I was allergic to it. Then just to verify it was the hemp, I smoked a little, and got the same reaction. Bad allergies, total constant nasal drip, watery eyes, stuffy head. My eyes would even burn at times. Is there something equivalent for pain, that will not give me such bad effects? Or is there somewhere I can investigate further? I think it really does some of my arthritic pain. Thank You.” – Anonymous

Given the increasing frequency of these stories about people being allergic to cannabis, and the apparent need for more information, we felt it necessary to investigate the matter further.

An Unusual Background: Cannabis Allergy Research

Allergy research

After scooting beneath the radar of the scientific community for the longest time, marijuana allergies appear to be on the rise. Just as cannabis consumption has been trickling towards the mainstream in the U.S., cannabis allergies have been attracting increased attention from researchers. The correlation between the rise in allergies and the increase in legalization initiatives is surely significant.

From the outset, we should outline a number of quixotic attributes specific to cannabis and its production that make it particularly interesting as a source of allergies. First off, similar to plants such as ragweed, cannabis pollen grains are very buoyant, allowing for distribution across many miles, which can increase their effectiveness as an irritant. Though typically only produced by male plants, pollen can also be produced by females that express hermaphroditic male flowers. That there are a variety of preparations of cannabis sativa adds another level of complexity.

Cannabis Anatomy: the Parts of the Plant

As you might be well aware, there are a multitude of ways in which cannabis products can be consumed. They can be smoked, vaporized, chewed, taken as a tincture, or used as a topical lotion. In addition to these factors, the isolation of female flowering plants, which aims to prevent pollination, increases the plant’s psychoactive properties by raising its THC content. As a result, the potency of cannabis has increased drastically over the years. Tragically, this could also play a role in allergic disease because THC has been suggested as a potential cannabis allergen.

Allergy Management for Children in Your Care

KidCheck Secure Children's Check-In & Allergy Management


Allergies have increased steadily over the last fifty years [1], and this increase affects your organization. Eavesdrop on a typical conversation among a group of parents, and the issue of allergies will likely come up. Some interesting allergy statistics are [2]: allergy alert

  • About 6% of children aged zero to two years have a food allergy
  • About 9% of children aged three to five years have a food allergy
  • About 8% of children aged six to ten years have a food allergy
  • Of children with food allergies, 38.7% have severe reactions

Statistically, there’s a good chance you will encounter a child under your care with a food or other allergy of some sort (like an allergy to bees). Utilizing an efficient and accurate method to be aware of and communicate allergy and medical information between parents and those caring for their children is vitally important. Also important is how to respond in the event of an allergic or medical emergency.

Since allergies are an increased concern, here are three key reasons to consider improving your organization’s allergy alert, communication, and response systems:

1) Child Safety
2) Parent Peace of Mind
3) Decreased Liability

Child Safety
Proactively planning how to communicate with parents about allergy and medical information helps keep children out of danger. Awareness of the issue is the first step in taking precautions to pro-act rather than react. While you may not currently have children in your care with severe allergies, planning now prepares you and your team should an emergency arise. Take the initiative to increase preparation and communication. Utilizing a children’s check-in system, such as KidCheck, allows parents to communicate important allergy and medical information and is one way to help keep children with allergies safe.

There are some key elements to consider no matter what communication system you utilize. Make it easy for parents to quickly and easily provide the most current information regarding their child’s allergy and medical information. Ideally, use a system that allows parents to update this information themselves.

Another important characteristic to look for is a system that allows volunteers to easily access allergy and medical information. The ability to quickly contact the child’s guardian, should an emergency occur, is another helpful feature. For example, some check-in systems, like KidCheck, allow you to send a text message to a parent directly from the check-in system.

In addition to communicating with parents about allergy information, consider implementing other measures to keep children safe. Once the communication system is established, create response plans regarding how you and your team will react should an emergency occur. Familiarize yourself with common allergens and how to respond should a child react to that allergen. For example, learn how to treat someone who allergically reacts to a peanut. Minimize allergen exposure at your facility. For example, check ingredient labels for nuts before serving a snack.

Additionally, train volunteers/employees to respond appropriately to medical emergencies. Keep a first aid kit and medical supplies on hand and alert your staff where they are. Periodically practice responding to emergency situations. Go a step further and seek out emergency responders to help create response plans and provide additional training.

Parent Peace of Mind
Whether an allergic reaction occurs or not, parents worry an emergency might occur while you care for their child. Remember, you serve not just the kids, but also their parents. While you care for their child, parents typically use the time for their own activity. If they constantly feel concern tugging in the back of their minds about their child reacting to an allergen during their personal time, they may not focus as well on their own activity.

The simplicity of a parent knowing they’ve communicated their child’s allergy, that you are prepared should an issue arise, and that you can easily contact them should you need to, brings peace of mind. Creating an effective medical communication and response system allows parents to focus on and enjoy their own journey, activity, or growth while you care for their child.

Decreased Liability
The big L word no one wants to say: liability. Everyone hates to think someone might pursue a lawsuit, but it’s naïve to believe no one would sue should an incident occur. Unfortunately, it does happen. Giving parents every opportunity to personally and accurately communicate their child’s allergies to your volunteers/employees, via a check-in solution or other system, decreases your organization’s liability should an allergy emergency arise. Having a system that also enables your staff too quickly and easily access and use contact information for parents decreases liability even more.

Should an incident occur, document it. Keep a folder with reported allergy/medical incidents. Take pictures, if appropriate, and include these in the file. Additionally, give parents a note or verbally communicate with them about any incident and how you responded (including medications administered). Such steps decrease liability even further while effectively caring for those you serve.

Implementing a plan to address children’s allergy issues is essential. Part of successfully planning to keep the children in your care safe includes having accurate information, using that information effectively, and utilizing a system to easily communicate with parents. Implementing such systems can be a great asset to you, your volunteers/employees, and the children in your care.

8 Most Common Food Allergies

Food allergies result when your immune system mistakes a food you’ve eaten for an invader. Instead of digesting the food and using it as nourishment, your body launches an attack, which can lead to symptoms that range from mildly unpleasant to potentially fatal. In their most severe form, food allergies can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis.

When we talk about food allergies, it’s important to distinguish them from food intolerances or sensitivities. A true food allergy is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to a food component, usually a protein. With a food sensitivity, on the other hand, the immune system is not usually involved. For example, lactose intolerance is a food sensitivity. People with the condition lack the enzyme necessary to break down milk sugar (lactose), so when they eat dairy products, lactose intolerant people may experience gas, bloating and diarrhea. Although they may be uncomfortable and embarrassed, these symptoms are not life-threatening, as some true food allergies can be.

Here’s are the most common food allergies.

1. Peanut Allergy


One of the most common food allergies, peanut allergy is also one of the most potentially dangerous. Peanuts are among the foods most likely to cause anaphylaxis and peanut allergies are on the rise. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education study, peanut allergies more than tripled in the U.S. between 1997 and 2008.

Unlike most other food allergies, which kids typically outgrow, peanut allergies are a lifelong condition—only about 20 percent of people with allergies to peanuts ever get rid of them. These allergies tend to run in families, with younger siblings of kids with peanut allergies at an increased risk of developing them, as well.

Peanuts are a member of the legume family; other members include peas, lentils and soy. Legumes differ from their cousins, the tree nuts (walnuts, cashews and almonds), in that they grow in the ground. Although people with peanut allergies are no more likely to be allergic to other legumes, they are more likely to be allergic to tree nuts. Recent research shows that between 24 and 40 percent of people with peanut allergies also have tree nut allergies.

Symptoms of a peanut allergy may include hives; eczema; stomach cramps; diarrhea; vomiting; runny nose; sneezing; itchy, watery eyes; and asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. In its most severe form, peanut allergy can cause—within minutes—the sudden allergic reaction anaphylaxis.

Another reason peanut allergies are such a concern is that just a tiny amount of a nut can trigger a big reaction in sensitive people. If someone with a peanut allergy touches a surface where a peanut or some peanut butter sat and then touches his or her eyes, for example, it can be enough to set off a serious allergic reaction.

Because trace amounts of peanuts can spark a severe response and because peanuts can lurk in many unsuspecting foods, people with a peanut allergy—or any true food allergy—simply can’t be too careful. If you have a severe food allergy, you should carry an EpiPen at all times and make sure you and those around you know how to administer it and are prepared to use it at any time.

As a peanut allergy sufferer, you must also be vigilant about reading food labels. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires all foods containing peanuts that are sold in the U.S. to list the word “peanut” clearly on the label. However, keep in mind that the use of the phrase “may contain peanuts” is voluntary, so you still need to know what you’re eating.

It’s also important to be aware of foods and ingredients that may contain peanuts. These include the following:

  • Artificial nuts
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Chili
  • Egg rolls
  • Glazes and marinades
  • Mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring)
  • Marzipan
  • Nougat
  • Pancakes
  • Pet food
  • Specialty pizzas

2. Tree Nut Allergy


Tree nuts are, as their name suggests, nuts that grow on trees. They include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts and cashews.

  • Tree nut allergies are similar to peanut allergies in that they tend to cause severe reactions and usually last a lifetime. Even fewer kids with tree nut allergies than with peanut allergies ever outgrow them. Tree nut allergies also tend to run in families, with younger siblings of children with tree nut allergies at an increased risk of developing them, too.

People with tree nut allergies are frequently allergic to more than one kind of tree nut, so they’re advised to avoid all nuts and to check all ingredients. The FALCPA now requires food companies to list specific tree nuts on all labels of foods sold in the U.S. Even so, those with allergies to tree nuts should be aware that these nuts can pop up in the most unusual places, such as barbecue sauces, flavored coffees and alcoholic beverages. (Note that alcoholic beverages are not required by the FALCPA to list potential allergens on their labels).

If you have a severe tree nut allergy, you should also look out for the following substances:

  • Gianduja (chocolate with hazelnut paste as an ingredient)
  • Litchi
  • Marzipan
  • Pesto

3. Milk Allergy


Cow’s milk is the most common allergy in infants and young kids. About 2.5 percent of children younger than age three are allergic to milk. Those with an allergy to cow’s milk can also react to the milk of other animals, such as goats and sheep.

Milk allergy symptoms are variable and can range from mild to severe. Some individuals react after ingesting only a tiny bit of milk, while others can drink a moderate amount and react only slightly. Mild reactions tend to take the form of hives and severe reactions can include anaphylaxis.

The good news is that most kids with milk allergies outgrow them. There are also a number of healthy dairy-free baby formulas available, so mothers of milk-allergic kids who choose not to breastfeed have other options.

Luckily, the FALCPA now requires that all milk-containing products sold in the U.S. actually list the word “milk” on the label. Even so, it’s helpful for parents of kids who are allergic to milk—and for the kids themselves—to be as educated as possible on hidden cow’s milk sources. It’s also important to realize that milk can show up in the most unexpected places, such as in deli meat (when meat slicers are used to cut both meat and cheese), meats that use casein as a binder and medications that contain milk protein.

Here are some milk-containing ingredients to look out for:

  • Casein
  • Caseinates
  • Curd
  • Diacetyl
  • Ghee
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactose
  • Lactulose
  • Recaldent
  • Rennet casein
  • Tagatose
  • Whey

4. Egg Allergy


Egg allergies are also common in kids, second only to milk. Luckily, most children outgrow their egg allergy by age five. Those who are sensitive react to the proteins in the white of the egg. People with chicken egg allergies should also avoid eggs from ducks, geese, turkeys and other birds, because they may contain some of the same allergenic proteins. Symptoms of an egg allergy range from mild skin reactions to severe anaphylaxis.

Children who are most allergic to eggs can react after just smelling egg fumes or getting a tiny bit of egg white on their skin. Because eggs have the potential to cause anaphylaxis, those who are at risk should carry an EpiPen to use in the event of accidental exposure.

The FALCPA requires all egg or egg product-containing packaged foods meant for distribution in the U.S. to say “contains eggs” on their labels. But eggs can still show up in unexpected places, such as in surimi, the foam toppings of coffee drinks and on pretzels. (They’re in the egg wash used before the pretzels are dipped in salt). Therefore, you can’t be too educated about eggs’ many whereabouts. Some of the less obvious names for egg-containing ingredients include albumin (or albumen), meringue and ovalbumin.

5. Soy Allergy


Soy is another common food allergen, especially in infants and children. About 0.4 percent of children have a soy allergy. Some kids outgrow it by age three and the majority outgrow it by age 10.

Soybeans are legumes (plants that have seeds in pods; other legumes include peas, lentils and peanuts). Having a soy allergy does not make someone more likely to have an allergy to another legume, such as peanuts, however. And in most cases, soy allergies tend to be much milder than peanut allergies.

Symptoms of a soy allergy may include hives, itching, eczema, canker sores, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or dizziness. More severe anaphylactic reactions to soy can also occur, but these are rare. Those who are at risk for an anaphylactic reaction from soy should carry an EpiPen. (You can learn if you’re at risk through specialized testing).

The FALCPA requires all packaged foods that contain soy and that are sold in the U.S. to say “soy” on the label. However, it’s still helpful to recognize foods and ingredients that may contain soy. These include the following:

  • Edamame
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Shoyu
  • Soya
  • Tamari
  • Tempeh
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)

Beyond the obvious soy milk and soy products like tofu, soy can also be found in unexpected foods, including canned meats and fish, cereal, crackers, energy bars,and infant formula.

6. Fish and Shellfish Allergy


Like peanut allergies, fish and shellfish allergies often stick with people for their entire lives. In fact, seafood allergy is one of the top food allergies among adults. It also sends more people age six and older to the emergency room than any other food allergy because like nut allergies, an allergy to fish and shellfish can bring on a severe anaphylactic reaction.

When it comes to seafood, those with fins are the most allergenic, with salmon, tuna and halibut being the worst offenders. People who are allergic to one type of fish are frequently also allergic to another. However, fish and shellfish come from different families, so having an allergy to shellfish doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll also be allergic to finned fish or vice versa.

In terms of shellfish, crustaceans within the shellfish family are most likely to cause allergic reactions. These include shrimp, lobsters and crabs. Unfortunately, these are also some of the most popular shellfish for people to eat.

If you are allergic to fish or shellfish and are at risk for anaphylaxis, you will want to avoid these foods at all costs. On a positive note, fish and shellfish hardly ever hide behind strange ingredient names or in surprising foods. And if a packaged food contains shellfish, the label must list it.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that deep fryers in restaurants are often used to fry multiple kinds of foods, so your plate of innocent French fries may have been dipped in the same oil as someone else’s fried seafood sampler Hibachi restaurants are another danger zone for people with seafood allergies, because chefs use the same open grill to cook everyone’s meals. If you have a shellfish allergy, your safest bet is to avoid seafood restaurants altogether and especially any foods that have been deep-fried.

In addition, because fish and shellfish allergies can cause anaphylaxis, carrying an EpiPen is a good idea for those who have these allergies.

7. Wheat Allergy


Wheat allergies most commonly show up in kids, who usually outgrow them by age three. And just as a milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance, a wheat allergy should not be confused with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, which is a sensitivity to the sticky protein (called gluten) that’s found in wheat. Wheat allergies in their true form are reactions to the proteins in wheat and are mediated by the immune system; IgE antibodies are secreted within minutes to hours after a person eats a wheat-containing food. Symptoms of a wheat allergy can range from mild hives, rash, digestion problems, itching and swelling to severe, life-threatening anaphylactic reactions that involve wheezing, trouble breathing and loss of consciousness.

In someone with celiac disease or with wheat gluten intolerance, there is an abnormal immune system reaction to gluten (but not a hypersensitivity, which occurs with allergy). Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to malnutrition and serious damage to the intestines, so it’s important for people who suffer from it to avoid wheat.

Whether you have a wheat allergy or an intolerance, avoiding this ingredient can be challenging because wheat is America’s most commonly used grain. It’s also used as a filler in many foods that you wouldn’t suspect, such as salad dressing, soy sauce, lunch meat and ice cream. Good alternatives to wheat flour itself include corn, oats, quinoa, rice, barley and amaranth. To best avoid wheat, you should also become educated on all of its imposters. These foods and ingredients contain wheat:

  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Kamut
  • Matzoh
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale

8. Corn Allergy


The most profitable crop in the country, corn is used in almost everything these days, including as a filler in processed meats and as a sweetener in candies, cereals and jams. It’s not yet considered a common food allergen in the U.S., but based on the patients I’ve seen in my practice, I think corn is on its way to this list. In one study, two percent of people self-reported an allergy to corn.

One reason I think corn allergies are under recognized is because they can be so difficult to diagnose. When you use a standard skin or blood test, there can be cross-reactions between corn and other common allergens, such as grass pollens, grains and seeds; therefore, a corn allergy can be difficult to tease out.

When they do show up, corn allergies may cause symptoms such as hives, rash, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, headaches, sneezing and asthma. Some people also experience severe anaphylactic reactions to corn and corn products, including the cornstarch used on surgical gloves. If you are severely allergic to corn, you should avoid both raw and cooked corn and carry an EpiPen in case of a reaction.


Out of all of the requests that I get from readers, by far the most common are pleas from desperate moms who are in search of delicious, easy, family-friendly recipes that are also allergy-friendly. Since I don’t have any allergies to contend with in our family, I am definitely not an expert in this area. And let’s face it: Cooking for Kids with Allergies can be a very difficult task!

That’s why I turned to the greatest resource that I know: my fellow food blogging friends (many of whom have entire websites dedicated to allergy-friendly recipes), and asked them to select a few of their very favorite kid friendly, allergen-free recipes. I have compiled, labeled, and categorized all of these meal ideas in this ultimate resource of Over 50 Family-Friendly (and Allergy-Friendly) Recipes!

Cooking for Kids with Allergies

Cooking for Kids with #Allergies: Over 50 Family-Friendly #Recipes Hand-Picked by Top Food…


A few notes before we get to the good stuff! First, you will notice my abbreviations in parentheses after each recipe. Here’s the code: GF = Gluten Free; DF = Dairy Free; EF = Egg Free; NF = Nut Free; SF = Soy Free. I hope these designations help you peruse the list quickly and easily to find those options that are most appropriate for your family’s needs. BUT!!! Please, please, please read each recipe carefully before you prepare it.As I said, I am not an expert in allergy-free cooking and you just need to double-check that my labels are in fact accurate.

I hope that you find plenty of new recipes that your entire family can enjoy!


Berry Shortcake Overnight Protein Oats from The Seasoned Mom {GF, EF, NF, SF}

Berry Shortcake Overnight Oats 10

Overnight Strawberry Quinoa Parfait from The Seasoned Mom {GF, EF, NF, SF}

Easy Almond Flour Muffins from Snappy Gourmet {GF, DF}

Blueberry Carrot Cake Bars with Granola from Cotter Crunch {GF, SF, DF-optional}


Savory Kale Oatmeal Cups from Kiip Fit {GF, EF, DF, NF}

Cardamom Banana Bread from A Virtual Vegan {DF, EF, NF, SF}

Maple and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Waffles from Plating Pixels {GF, SF}


Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Dishing Delish {GF, NF-optional, SF}

Blueberry Breakfast Bites from A Virtual Vegan {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chips Muffins from Vitamin Sunshine {GF, EF, DF-optional, SF}

Red Lentil Waffles with Rosemary Pomegranate Syrup from Eat. Thrive. Glow. {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Fluffy Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes from Whole Food Bellies {DF, EF, NF-optional, SF}

2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes from Living Sweet Moments {GF, DF, NF, SF}



Slow Cooker Root Beer Barbecue Chicken from The Seasoned Mom {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Peach-Glazed Chicken Kabobs from The Seasoned Mom {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Chicken Taco Quinoa Skillet from The Seasoned Mom {GF, DF-optional, EF, NF, SF}

Chicken Taco Quinoa Skillet 10

Paleo Italian Chicken Fingers from Tastes of Lizzy T’s {GF, DF, SF}

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil White Bean Burgers from Ari’s Menu {GF, EF, DF, SF}

Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli from Peas & Crayons {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}


Southwest Quinoa Bowls from Ari’s Menu {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Crock Pot Green Chili White Cheddar Mac and Cheese from Cotter Crunch {GF, NF, EF, SF}

Easy Gluten Free Herbed Chicken and Biscuit Bake from Cotter Crunch {GF, NF, SF}

Herbed Chicken and Biscuit Bake

Meatloaf with Quinoa from Inhabited Kitchen {GF, DF, NF, SF}

Vegan Corn Dogs from Yummily Yours’ {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

One Pot Sausage and Rice Bake from Dinner at the Zoo {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

one pot sausage

Slow Cooker Applesauce Chicken from Strength and Sunshine {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Carrot and Potato Soup from Easy Baby Meals {GF, EF, NF, SF}

Carrot Tomato Soup from Eat. Thrive. Glow. {GF, EF, NF, SF}


Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Alfredo from 918 Plate {GF, EF, NF, SF}

Stove Top Chicken Fajitas Sliders from Bam’s Kitchen {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Apple Peanut Butter Quesadillas from Connoisseurus Veg {EF, DF, SF}



Asian Cucumber Salad from The Seasoned Mom {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Mom’s Marinated Vegetable Salad from The Seasoned Mom {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Summer Corn Salad from The Seasoned Mom {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Healthy Corn Salad

Homemade Corn Muffin Mix from Inhabited Kitchen {GF, NF, SF}

Baked Sweet Potato Fries from Strength and Sunshine {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Skinny Carrot Fritters from Kiip Fit {EF, DF, NF, SF}


Cauliflower Nuggets from Healthier Steps {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

10 Minute Marinated Mushrooms from Peas & Crayons {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}



Healthy Peach Jam Bars from The Seasoned Mom {EF, DF, NF, SF}

Healthy Peach Jam Bars 8

Microwave Pizza Dip from The Seasoned Mom {GF, EF, NF, SF}

Healthy No-Bake Granola Bars from The Seasoned Mom {GF, DF, EF, SF}

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies Cups from Bake. Eat. Repeat. {GF, EF}

These no bake peanut butter cookie cups are amazing! No bake, flourless, mini and full of peanut buttery flavour. Can't beat that!

Apricot Energy Bites from Bake. Eat. Repeat. {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Chewy Chocolate Macaroon Granola Bars from Bake. Eat. Repeat. {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Fruit Dip from Vegetarian Mamma {GF, NF, DF-optional}

Lower Sugar Homemade Fruit Snacks and Veggie Chips from Cotter Crunch {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Cocoa Cashew Pretzel Bites from Cotter Crunch {GF, EF, DF, SF}

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Culinary Hill {GF, DF, SF}


Dairy-Free Blueberry Frozen Yogurt from Culinary Hill {GF, DF, EF, SF}

Quinoa Trail Mix Bites from Connoisseurus Veg {GF, EF, DF, SF}

Mango Banana Ice Cream from A Virtual Vegan {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

mango banana ice cream

Green Peas Cookies from Kiip Fit {GF, EF, DF}

Roast Green Peas from Yummily Yours’ {GF, EF, DF, NF, SF}

Roasted Strawberries with Vanilla Bean Cream from A Virtual Vegan {GF, EF, DF, SF}

Roasted Strawberries

Dairy Free Raspberry Gelato from Tastefully Frugal {GF, EF, DF, NF}

Raspberry Semifreddo from Suitcase Foodist {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

Almond Butter and Honey Blondies from Sunny Side Ups {GF, DF, SF}


No Nuts Monster Cookies from Sunny Side Ups {NF}

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites from Natural Chow {GF, DF, EF, SF}

Paleo Coconut Chocolate Blondies from A Healthy Life for Me {GF, DF, SF}


Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cookies from Cook.Craft.Love. {GF, DF-optional, EF, SF}

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles from Vitamin Sunshine {GF, DF, SF}

Cool Ranch Roasted Chickpeas from A Saucy Kitchen {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}

cool ranch chickpeas

Homemade Nutella from Eat. Thrive. Glow. {GF, DF, EF, SF}

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake from PriyaKitchenette {GF, NF, SF}

Chocolate Cornflake Cakes from Tea & Biscuits {GF, DF, EF, NF, SF}


And one more “sweet” resource that you might want to check out! Fellow blogger Vegetarian Mamma has this awesome book available right now…because nobody should be deprived of dessert! The Dessert Fork: Over 40 Allergy-Friendly Dessert Recipes that Your Entire Family Will Enjoy


Top 10 Ways to Tame and Deal with Your Allergies

Sneezing, wheezing, and otherwise feeling like hell: Allergies are a special kind of everyday torture. Although we don’t have a cure for your food or environmental allergies, we do have some proven tips to help you suffer less and minimize reactions. Here are our top 10 tips for people who suffer with allergies.

10. Know If It’s a Cold or an Allergy

Is it a cold or is it your allergies? It’s not always easy to tell the difference, but examine your symptoms so you can properly treat whatever you have. Itchy eyes and throat are associated more with allergies, and even your snot can indicate whether you’re having an allergic reaction or have caught a cold. Once you know what you have, you can decide if you should take cold or allergy medicine (although both Benadryl and Nyquil will cure you temporarily by knocking you out.)

9. Don’t Be Fooled By Products That Promise to Alleviate Your Allergies

Allergic symptoms—wheezing, itchiness, rashes, sinus problems, and more—can be so severe that you’ll try anything to get rid of them. Unfortunately, the word “hypoallergenic” doesn’t always mean what we think it means—companies can use the term for whatever they want it to mean. Buying local honey won’t help your allergies either or build up your tolerance to pollen—you’re still probably going to be exposed to a different, wind-carried pollen. If a product says it’s allergen-free, you should still look at the ingredients and investigate them.

8. Manage Your Allergies When Traveling

You’ll have a routine to keep your allergies under control when you’re at home—knowing which restaurants to eat at or avoid, for example—but traveling is another story. Before you get on an airplane, find out the airline’s food allergy policies (or pack your own food). You might also seek out allergy-friendly lodging and, of course, make sure you have any medication you might need with you. Here’s our guide to eating well and managing your food allergies when you’re traveling.

7. Change Your Daily Routine to Defeat Seasonal Allergies

If your allergies are triggered by seasonal changes, such as more exposure to tree pollen in the spring or spending more time with mold and dust mites in the winter, change with the seasons! Basically, you want to reduce your exposure to the allergens when they’re at their peak and remove them from your environment as much as possible. Go outdoors after 10 am, for example. Also, change your clothes and shoes when you walk through the door so you don’t bring allergens into the house. Dust early in the day to give dust time to settle before you settle down in the evening. Shower at night to get rid of the pollen you’ve picked up all day so you’re not breathing it in all night long. We’re on to you, allergens.

6. Upgrade Your Cleaning Procedures

The things you come into contact every day are the ones most likely to trigger allergies. That means cleaning everyday things like your clothes and bedsheets. Add baking soda or vinegar to the washing machine to get rid of excess detergent residue. Invest in dust mite covers for your bed and pillows, Keep pets out of bedrooms and replace carpets with hardwood floors, if possible.

5. Consult Apps for Allergy Information

You generally know which foods to avoid when you have a food allergy, but sometimes dishes can sneak in ingredients that you might be allergic to. That’s where Allergy Assassin comes in. It could warn you that a dish might contain an ingredient you’re allergic to (e.g., that ravioli dish or meatball would likely contain eggs). We’ve rounded up more apps that will help you find allergy-friendly restaurants and food products here.

4. Learn Easy Food Allergy Substitutions

Even with restrictive food allergies, you can still enjoy a variety of foods. My daughter’s allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and soy, for example, so we’ve learned to look for vegan and nut-free desserts or use egg substitutes when baking, such as applesauce and even chickpea liquid. Learn to cook for difficult dietary restrictions here and general guidelines for substituting ingredients. If you’re cooking for “the most difficult dinner guest ever,” have some recipes anyone can eat in your arsenal.

3. Watch Out for Hidden Allergy Triggers

One of the worst parts of having allergies is having a reaction and not knowing what caused it. You could be allergic to the ingredients in commercial deodorants (so make your own) or, unfortunately, wine and beer, because of ingredients used to produce them. Watch your diet if you have mysterious migraines and always read the food labels. Although the FDA requires food manufacturers to declare if a product has a major food allergen (the big 8: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans), you might be allergic to another ingredient. To be on the safe side, always read the ingredients list carefully and look up the allergens list when ordering fast food or ask your server when dining out. It’s also wise to know the other names associated with your allergy. If a food lists casein or whey, for example, or even artificial butter flavor, you should avoid it if you have milk allergies. See Food Allergy Research & Education for more info.

2. Carry an Allergy Card

The easiest way to communicate your allergies to others is with a picture. Allergy cards are especially useful when traveling and even when dining out at restaurants locally. Create your own allergy card, or use a site like Allerglobalto generate a language-specific version. You can also get bracelets and stickers to warn teachers and caretakers of your kids’ allergies.

1. Find Out What’s Making You React

Most important: Know what you’re allergic too. Otherwise, you won’t be able to treat it and you’ll keep suffering. A food elimination diet can help you narrow down what’s making you sick. To look out for possible allergies when feeding a baby, use the 4-day wait rule (introduce only one new ingredient for four days). Try keeping a journal so you can pinpoint your allergy triggers, whether it’s food or something in your environment. And get tested by an allergist if your symptoms are really bothering you. Medication might not be necessary (maybe they’ll just recommend a neti pot for seasonal allergies), but a doctor can help you live better even if you have allergies.