Talking Allergies

Am I being paranoid?
Page 1 of 2

Author:  TMcG [ Sun Dec 25, 2005 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Am I being paranoid?

Hi there. I've been living with my boyfriend for the past 5 years and since being diagnosed with soy / tree allergies I've been having problems with him thinking I'm paranoid. We've been arguing lots on this subject.

Case in point, he had friends over last week who were eating almond pastries. He left the plates apart from the rest of our dishes. I've asked him to throw out the plates and he thinks I am a little loopy.

He would love to see the opinions of those with a medical background any links?

Also he has a hard time believing that a doctor can't assess how allergic an individual is as well as that a kiss or intercourse can transmit allergens. Any support for this?

Please help!!!

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Sun Dec 25, 2005 6:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree with you that washing the plates may not remove all traces of an allergen...personally, I do not allow any allergens in the front door. Only occassionally do I eat doritos, and I wash the bowl, sink, counter, and put all wash clothes used into the wash as well. I would never allow anyone who would not be that careful to eat them in my home because it is my "safe space". Everyone needs a space where they can relax and be safe fron the allergens in the outside world.

My husband is allergic to nuts/eggs/fish. I do not consume ANY of these. Proteins can be present ( i believe for days after ) in saliva, and other body fluids, and risking his life is not worth the momentary enjoyment of any food.

No you are not being paranoid. The risk is there. I'll look for some links, but what happened to Christina a few weeks ago is one example.

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Mon Dec 26, 2005 9:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

I was also thinking about Christina. Has your husband read anything about her death?

My husband does not eat my allergens in our home. Neither do our kids. I do allow *may contain* foods in my home for them - but I don't allow them to be cooked in my home - not even heated in the microwave.

Author:  Helen [ Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Am I being paranoid?


I can entirely understand how you feel about the plates. I'd be concerned that washing them once wouldn't do it. Unless the plates in question are very fine china which have been in the family for generations I'd say that your own peace of mind is much more important than a few plates!

Kids have had reactions (stomach upset, skin reaction) from coming in contact with trace amounts of a cafeteria table that had been cleaned. (see I would guess that washing the plates multiple times would remove all the trace proteins. But then you would have the problem of having to worry about the contaminated dishcloth, cleaning out the sink thoroughly, etc. It is *so* hard to avoid cross contamination + having nuts around causes me so much stress that I would never again live with anyone who ate nuts. And I don't allow my friends to bring food with nuts or egg into my apartment. As saskmommy says, it is important to feel safe in one's own home. And it *is* in fact safer to live in an allergy free space. Anaphylaxis Canada suggests: "Try to eliminate allergens from your home." Also, they warn that "kissing may be dangerous." (I'm getting this from "Suggestions for Eating Safely" found on those allergy cards they sell.)
And AllergicLiving did an article on the perils of kissing.

this is a really good resource on peanut allergies:

I didn't find anything on that page about intercourse, but a doctor wrote a letter to the editor in one of the issues of Allergic Living to explain that there have been documented cases of anaphylaxis due to intercourse.

Doctors cannot assess how allergic an individual is because allergies are unpredictable. There is no such thing as a mild nut allergy....the one time one could have a bit of throat itchiness. The next time one could have a full blown anaphylactic reaction.

It is a difficult situation when someone you care about puts your health at risk and refuses to believe standard medical knowledge about your illness. If someone close to me had a life threatening condition, and my actions could endanger their health, I would be darn sure that I had the medical facts and research it myself before dismissing that person's concerns. Also, the anxiety component of allergies is something that people need to be sensitive towards. If something can kill you, you are going to be anxious about it (think of the way that everyone in Toronto reacted during the SARS crisis) and the situation calls for some degree of understanding!

Everyone is on a different learning curve. I hope your situation improves! I have seen one of my family members move from thinking that I was paranoid about some of the basics of allergy safety to being concerned about me using his laptop because it had been in a work environment where there were nuts. (I'm using it...with care. But he cleaned it and doesn't think that there are traces of nut protein on it anyways.)

One source of misunderstanding I find is people think of allergens in the same way as they think of as poison....i.e. it is the dose that kills a little bit won't hurt. (And also, they have difficulties wrapping their heads around the concept that a seemingly benign food could be deadly.) It might help to explain that an allergic reaction is an *immune system response*. While IgE isn't the same immunoglobin which attacks viruses and bacteria, our immune systems do recognize very small particles. Once the body recognizes an allergen as an "invader" a cascade of reactions are set off.

Author:  TMcG [ Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

Wow! You guys are awesome. Thanks so much for all of the information, It is quite helpful. I do plan on making an appointment with my allergist so my partner can ask him all of the questions to help him to understand better.

This forum is such a big help and I have all of you to thank. It is great to know that there are such great people out there!

Thanks again.

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Here is an exerpt from this article ... lergy&pg=1
This refers to women with allergic reactions to semen. Is it semen allergy...or food allergy?

Are these women more likely to have other allergies?
We haven't demonstrated that being allergic to common seasonal and perennial allergens is a risk factor for this disorder. There's been some suggestion that some existing food allergies or a family history of food allergies might be related, but that requires further verification.

As a mother of 2 daughters with food allergies, I have seen first hand that yes, allergens are in body fluids. My own baby (milk/egg/chicken allergic we found out later)would have ezcema flare ups after breastfeeding. My best friends babies entire face would turn red, with small hives after nursing (he is allergic to milk/eggs) if his mom consumed any milk. The doctor advised her to continue breastfeeding and not to cut his allergens out of her diet because milk was important to drink when you are breastfeeding. She cut it out against the doctors advise.

Since the proteins are obviously passed in breastmilk, it seems like it should be present in semen, and saliva as well. Saliva being particularly dangerous due to the fact that the offending food was also previously in the mouth.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Also he has a hard time believing that a doctor can't assess how allergic an individual is as well as that a kiss or intercourse can transmit allergens. Any support for this?

I have been thinking abut your original post. It seemes to me that it should not be an issue of you troing the web trying to find evidence to substantiate your requests to feel safe within this relationship.
Your boyfriend should respect your wishes and you knowledge of yourself. If you say that this is what you need from a partner. To trust that they are keeping the dietary restrictions necessary to keep you safe. That really should be enough.
Relationships are based on honest, trust, acceptance and a basic desire to please the other person. I'm having a hard time seeing any of these in his reaction to your request.
I don't wish to offend and perhaps there is more to the story.
Good luck. :)

Author:  darklillith [ Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Paranoid? No.

Well, I'm 47 years old and I figure I have a pretty good handle on allergies/paranoia at this point. Out of our family of 5 - 4 of us are considered "profoundly" allergic.

If we did not have a dishwasher with heavy duty settings, then no allergens would be allowed in the house. When I have to deal with something that may have come in contact with an allergen - peanuts, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), eggs or pork products - I wear disposable gloves. I rinse the dishes under hot water, spray them with a spritzer containing 10% bleach and then pop them in the dishwasher.

My husband is not allergic to tree nuts but he loves them. We have found a compromise over the years. He eats them at work - cleans his teeth after eating them, and before he comes near me. So far, in 24 years - we've never had a problem.

My sons, the ones with the profound allergies, educate their girlfriends with regard to the problem of allergens. They avoid social situations or eating in the homes of other people. A polite decline of dinner invitations are the norm around here. Instead, if we feel the need for a social dinner; we host it. Our guests are advised to please ensure that all the ingredients are listed on the container/package.

We take great care but I don't think we are paranoid. It is life and death. We don't expect other people to conduct their lives around us. The allergies are our problem but perhaps even more important - they are OUR responsibility.

If the boyfriend doesn't have a problem with the almond pastries - then he shouldn't have a problem cleaning up - following the appropriate procedures for ensuring that any allergen is removed from the plate. Example: washing those dishes and the cutlery separately - twice as well as spritzing them with a bleach solution. Investing in throw away gloves. Never using the dish mop or sponge but a disposable cloth to clean the dishes. Using boiling water with soap for the first wash - followed by a bath in separate water, also boiling temperature. He may find that its too much trouble and banish allergens from the apartment.

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

darklillith, cleaning isn't the problem in my home. My husband sweats during the night. I absorb the sweat through my pores - and I have reactions. Therefore, HE cannot eat my allergens and live with me. Apparently I'm worth more then a nut, cuz he's still here. :lol:

Author:  Helen [ Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:11 am ]
Post subject: 

Am experiencing technical difficulties here---accidentally posted twice so i deleted this entry.

Author:  Helen [ Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:18 am ]
Post subject: 

As Anna Marie demonstrates, different people have different levels of reactivity. So what may work for one allergic family may not work for another. i.e. on the issue of kissing and allergies. for some people, using lots of toothpaste and mouthwash might work. but a study i read about shows that someone who is highly allergic can have a reaction to a kiss even if her partner ate 6 hours ago and brushed and flossed and everything. some people on message boards i frequent have to wait much longer before kissing someone who has been into the cashews...or shellfish..or whatever.

about the almond pastry issue....the problem is not only cleaning up. anyone who eats the almond pastry gets almond pastry on their hands....and possibly might drop crumbs. i personally would not be comfortable with having nuts in the house. even when people are careful accidents may happen. for instance my sister once had breathing difficulties and broke out in hives all down her leg after sitting at a table where people had been eating pecan pie. we figure that the chair which had come in contact with her leg might have had some crumbs.

the medical reasons aside, i think that anxiety issues are enough for family to get rid of allergens. if the person who is allergic doesn't have any anxiety issues and is comfortable with having allergens around that's fine, but I also think it is fine for someone to want to eliminate allergens from the home as much as possible. (it wasn't possible with my family---nuts could go but because of multiple food allergies we couldn't get rid of everything.) I've been reading up on fear conditioning and trauma lately----anxiety is a medical issue in and of itself.

to give one personal example----not too long ago, i was reading in a university library, saw someone eating nuts and went up to her to explain the allergy situation and ask her to put them away. (i'm not in the habit of asking complete strangers not to eat nuts. but people aren't supposed to be eating in the library in the first place.) when i got close, i found the smell so nauseating that i seriously felt like gagging. i tried to stay calm....i didn't get sick but if i started panicking i might have. my theory here is that the smell of the nuts triggered a memory of a traumatic reaction which did involve involuntary gagging. but there's always the possibility too that I could actually be having a reaction to airborne peanut protein. regardless, i avoid being around nuts as much as possible. and i expect close family and friends to be understanding and supportive.

Author:  TMcG [ Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

For certain Lisa.

Funny enough, I have an appointment with a new allergy doctor on Valentines Day so here's hoping he can educate my partner on how to live with someone with multiple food allergies. Guess it's cheaper than a marriage counsellor!!! :lol:

Author:  Helen [ Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

That might be the perfect day to work out the allergy issues! Good luck with everything.

Author:  darklillith [ Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

AnnaMarie wrote:
darklillith, cleaning isn't the problem in my home. My husband sweats during the night. I absorb the sweat through my pores - and I have reactions. Therefore, HE cannot eat my allergens and live with me. Apparently I'm worth more then a nut, cuz he's still here. :lol:

:lol: Or as in my husband's case? I'm the more favourite nut for him - 'cause he's still here as well.

We haven't had an issue with perspiration - I don't know if it's because he showers every night before coming to bed or that he doesn't perspire very much. Although - his toothbrush is kept in the medicine cabinet - far away from my own - just in case.

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hey, nice to see you back. :)

Actually, my husband does perspire an excessive amount (compared to most people).

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 4 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group