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Allergic to sunflower seeds, peaches and almonds. How is it possible when I do not have any contact with these?

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I just returned from the allergist and he told me I am allergic to sunflower seeds, peaches, and almonds. They were a 3 out of 4, whatever that means. I cannot find anything on sunflower seed allergy, I wont eat them, but should I avoid the plant? Are there cross reactions? Is sunflower disguised as anything else in food? What if I eat chicken who ate sunflower seeds? Sorry for all the questions, the dr was in a rush and I did not get to ask. I have an epi-pen and I am really scared!!!
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 23 hours later
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. Your sunflower seed, almond and peach allergy is a cross reactivity to a similar allergen.

2. 3 out of 4 allergy refers to the types of allergens associated with sunflower seed allergy. Skin test wheals are measures in millimeters (mm).

3. Sunflower seeds are widely used worldwide. The only way of avoiding them is by meticulous examination of packaging and product labels.

4. When in doubt, avoid any foodstuff or hygiene products. There may also be pollen contamination which is unpredictable. Ingredients of processed foods are highly difficult to decipher.

5. It will be worthwhile to check if you are also allergic to sunflower oil or food cooked in sunflower oil. Poultry and chicken feed does not consist purely of sunflower seeds. Usually poultry feed will contain leftover sunflower seed material (containing predominantly protein) after all the oil has been extracted. It s highly unlikely that you will be exposed to the entire set of sunflower allergens through a well cooked chicken. Many allergens are heat labile and the proteins are denatured by cooking at high temperatures.

6. Always use the epi-pen only if absolutely necessary (severe reactions or anaphylaxis).

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Allergic to sunflower seeds, peaches and almonds. How is it possible when I do not have any contact with these? 48 minutes later
You had mentioned to..When in doubt, avoid any foodstuff or hygiene products. There may also be pollen contamination which is unpredictable. Ingredients of processed foods are highly difficult to decipher.....

How would I know if something has pollen contamination? I am reading labels, but that would not account for pollen contamination. I am afraid to eat.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 11 hours later
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. As mentioned above, sunflower seeds are widely used worldwide. The only way of avoiding them is by meticulous examination of packaging and product labels. You may take this a few steps further by:
a. Maintaining a diary or computer list of tried and tested foods.
b. Calling up company and consumer helplines to rule out the presence of sunflower, almond and peach in their products.
c. Sticking to fresh vegetables, whole grains.

2. Avoid ingredients of the Ragweed plant family. Ragweed pollen reaction foods include: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, XXXXXXX pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea.

3. There is also a possibility of seasonal and demand based change in cooking oils in commercial products and restaurants. Try to stick to home (self supervised) cooked food.

4. This is a difficult allergy and pollen contamination is even more difficult to avoid.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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