Talking Allergies

Newly diagnosed daughter!
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Author:  jobeanmom [ Wed May 17, 2006 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Newly diagnosed daughter!

I am new to message boards and new to having a child with a fish and shellfish allergy. So please bear with me! I am really struggling to find all the information necessary to protect her. I was reading a label on her favourite granola bar...peanut free chewy, chocolate chip granola bar and discovered that there are sulphites in the ingredients. Does this mean she shouldn't eat these? (She safely ate them in the past).

Thanks so much! I would appreciate any and all help. I am so overwhelmed.

Grace's Mom

Author:  Daisy [ Wed May 17, 2006 11:17 pm ]
Post subject: 


Sulfites are fine if your child is not sensitive. It is a chemical preservative, not made from seafood. It is used to retain color and prevent bacterial growth. It is sometimes used on seafood, dried fruits, pastries, etc.. and is a natural bi-product of fermentation, hence the strong presence in wines.

However, some people that react to iodine, such as the skin disinfectant Betadine, also are allergic to seafood. But some don't; they are still unsure of the connection. The reactions to chemicals are not usually IgE related; these reactions are usually at the cellular level and are called "anaphylactoid." They are treated like an allergic reaction, but more difficult to diagnose, as there are no quick tests.

What you do need to avoid with the seafood allergy is some of the Omega fatty acid compounds derived from fish sources. These are showing up in yogurt and granola bars, as well as other foods. They are added to make them more "healthy". To me, there's nothing healthy about fish in my yogurt! How un-natural! (There are other plant sources of Omega fatty acids, so you just have to call to make sure.)

Of course a child would not have to worry about this, but some of the glucosamine/chondroitin supplements for arthritis-type conditions are made from seafood sources.

What you do need to watch out for is cross-contamination in restaurants. I cannot find a steak house or just a chain restaurant that isn't serving seafood these days! (Like I would have gone to a steak house for seafood even in my shrimp-loving days! Peasants!) Make sure you tell the server and Manager of the allergy so the kitchen staff will not handle her food with seafood. They will usually use a "clean pan", etc... If they don't seem to "get it," trust your instincts and head for the nearest Wendy's for the good ole chicken nugget kids meal (although some Wendy's in other areas serve fish, so call first). Many restaurants are bad to fry multiple items in the same oil. Yuck! This is another form of cross-contamination. Even French fries may not be ok. Alway ask to be safe!
Don't get too overwhelmed. You will be extra cautious at first, but will soon learn your comfort zone. Mylene and I are very sensitive, so our comfort zone is tiny, but your child will probably be fine with being around seafood, just not eating it.
And stay away from the "touch-tanks" at aquariums. No need to tempt fate.

You will need a couple of Epi-pens at all times to be with your daughter.
Did she have an initial reaction? What were her symptoms? Any other allergies?

BTW, what a pretty name your daughter has! How old?

Author:  KarenOASG [ Thu May 18, 2006 12:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi jobeanmom! Welcome to the Talking Allergies forum.

As far as I know, there is no relation between fish/shellfish and sulphites. A person can be allergic to both, but just because you're allergic to fish/shellfish doesn't mean you have to avoid sulphites, and vice-versa.

Some links that might be of interest to you, as they will provide more info on these allergies and allergies in general:

- (notice that sulphites and fish/shellfish have a separate page)



See also for a lot of good info on severe allergies and how to cope. The info at this site is based on the new Canadian anaphylaxis guidelines.

It is very overwhelming at the start and there is a pretty steep learning curve. We've all been there and we all remember how scary it can be at the beginning. It does get better, honest.

Just take a deep breath, read through this info, and take things one step at a time. And feel free to ask us lots of questions.

You definitely have to read the labels at all times, but I would personally think that most processed cookies/crackers will be safe for those with fish/seafood allergy (with the exception of those with fish-sourced Omega-3 stuff in them). (Those with fish/seafood allergy correct me if I'm wrong!)


Author:  buzimom_2000 [ Thu May 18, 2006 3:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

Fish and shellfish were a surprise when we were diagnosed, but after you learn where there might be cross-contamination, it isn't so bad. Anything with Omega 3 is avoided. We simply avoid all fish & chips fast food restaurants, chinese food (even buffets). Mention at restaurants as shrimp is often deep fried same fat as chips & onion rings (yuck). When attending at-home buffets and parties, I take my wee man (age 4) to the table and point out the shrimp tray that he may not eat, plus any of the salmon & tuna sandwiches. As I watch those eating the shrimp, I do ask them to wash after eating and check to make sure the ends are disposed of. I always check for hidden items in restaurants, especially in dips as they are a great place to hide crab. Those of us here all shake at the thoughts of food buffets, so generally not a good idea. Also watch for cold pasta salads - I don't know why some people insist on putting fish in pasta salad! Depending on where you live might be a concern, since I'm fairly rural, fish hasn't been a hard one to avoid. Although, when I get away without my kiddies, I'm the first one at Red Lobster :oops:
Hope it helps!
mom of 4 boys ages 13, 11, 10 with no allergies and 4yr old PA, fish, shellfish, eggs, environmental, asthma

Author:  Daisy [ Thu May 18, 2006 5:14 pm ]
Post subject: 


And one other sneaky source of anchovies is Worchestershire sauce. It is used in many meat marinades, SOME BarBQue sauces, SOME salad dressings (stay away from Ceasar salads) and we've found it in SOME chicken wing and nugget-type dips.

Your daughter might not react to trace amounts; I have several friends that don't. But right now you need to err on the side of caution. These things will be second-nature to you soon enough. And when you are a label-reader, your diet gets really healthy because you start to realize what is in the foods you eat.

Just be sure you read labels, and notify servers/managers. We have a couple of "regular" restuarants that we frequent. They know our orders, and remember my allergies. And you get better service when you're a "regular."

Author:  -stephanie- [ Thu May 18, 2006 10:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Can you tell me a little bit more about the omega three in yogurt etc. I never clued in that this was fish based. My son is dairy,egg, peanuts, and fish allergic. I also have a shell fish allergy. I had started buying soy milk that advertised itself as a source of omega 3. Do you know if the protein is broken down or what type of fish they derive teh fatty acid from?
Thank you

Author:  Daisy [ Thu May 18, 2006 10:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

As I understand it, Omega 3 fatty acids in the form of AHA and DHA are from fish sources. Plant based Omega 3's are in the form of ALA (alpha linoleic acid). They sometimes list this on the label.

I have seen an Arnold fortified bread that lists "fish oil" in the ingredients, and a yogurt (don't remember the brand). I have also seen on another board that "fish oil" was added to some granola bars. They usually make a pretty big deal of "fortified with Omega 3 on the label", as this is the selling point.

Soy, canola, and especially flax seed are good vegetable sources of Omega 3's. These sources, again the ALA, are safe for fish allergic individuals.

Author:  -stephanie- [ Fri May 19, 2006 12:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the info.

Author:  McCobbre [ Sun May 21, 2006 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly diagnosed daughter!

jobeanmom wrote:
I am new to message boards and new to having a child with a fish and shellfish allergy. So please bear with me! I am really struggling to find all the information necessary to protect her. I was reading a label on her favourite granola bar...peanut free chewy, chocolate chip granola bar and discovered that there are sulphites in the ingredients. Does this mean she shouldn't eat these? (She safely ate them in the past).

Thanks so much! I would appreciate any and all help. I am so overwhelmed.

Grace's Mom

In addition to cross contamination from fried foods also have to worry about grilled foods, as shrimp is often grilled in the same place meat is.

Once at a restaurant, I had an anaphylactic reaction because--even though they knew abuot my allergy and cooked my beef in a "clean pan" and not on the grill, they used the same tongs for my meat that they had used for shrimp.

I also do not buy fish in the store anymore, but that's just my personal choice, as I see it displayed right next to shellfish, and I see first hand examples of cross contamination. I live in Texas. I am looking for a Kosher store where shellfish is not sold

On that topic, Kosher restaurants should be a haven for your daughter, as shellfish is not Kosher. :-)

Yes--always carry an Epi. And have an Allergy Action Plan for her at school and for her where ever she is (camps, summer day care, etc.). I'm shellfish allergic, but my son is peanut allergic, and that is what we do. For him, we also carry benadryl (and the Triaminic Cough & Cold purple melty strips are 12.5 mg of diphenhydramine--a child's dose of benadryl), and we carry those in DH's wallet and inside the Epi--in addition to the EpiPen, of course. But see what your allergist recommends you do.

Author:  KarenOASG [ Mon May 22, 2006 9:19 am ]
Post subject: 

This was brought up as a concern with my local support group, and I posted a small amount of info at ... =0&thold=0 .

If the source is not indicated, and you are severely fish allergic, I would contact the manufacturer to confirm the source.


Author:  jobeanmom [ Wed May 31, 2006 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Thank you very much

It is so comforting to read all your replies. It is so overwhelming and confusing sometimes. Thanks for clearing up my confusion about sulphites!

I received my epi-pen trainer today and we all practiced. I actually feel much better now that I have a comfort level with it as does Grace (who just turned 7). Hopefully, we will never have to use it.

Thanks again so much. :D

Author:  KarenOASG [ Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:06 am ]
Post subject: 

Well done to get the trainer! We get ours out every once in awhile and the kids and I practice with it. My guys (5 and 7) love practising. I just have to keep reminding them not to jab me too hard!

We just got Twinjects for the kids for when we go out with them (so we don't have to lug 4 EpiPens around) and they think the Twinject demonstrators are the coolest thing. My oldest even took his demonstrator to school to show his class during show and tell.

Funny what they find fascinating, eh?? :)


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