Anxiety about eating due to MFAs? - Peanut Allergy Information

Anxiety about eating due to MFAs?

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I have multiple food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, seafood). Ever since being diagnosed 10+ years ago, I've been anxious about having a reaction. And I've never had one. What I'm finding, though, is that my anxiety is INCREASING the more I deal with this, and I don't know why. I mean, shouldn't I look at my track record and see I've managed it well so far?? I just can't stop thinking about how eating one wrong thing might kill me. After I eat I spend the next 30 minutes to two hours checking my swallowing, looking at my face for swelling, etc. (not every time I eat, but at least twice a day). I've gotten obsessive about wiping my hands, not touching public things, etc. even though I know my reactions aren't contact-related. I get jumpy at the smell of peanuts, even though my allergy is not that sensitive to the smell.

Please tell me I'm not alone. I have no idea what to do. I tried therapy once but it didn't help much--because it's one thing to fight a fear when there's no real threat; it's another thing to fight a fear when there is a constant, real and present threat.

By mbg321 on Mar 6, 2009

You are not alone. I developed peanut, tree nut and shellfish allergies as an adult about 20 years ago. I too find it anxious to eat out, but have to do it due to my job and travel. I am very frank with the servers and tell them that I could die if they don't take this seriously. I also warn them about cross contamination back in the kitchen. I carry liquid benedryl with me and two epi pens. Do I probably overreact at the slight thing especially when I am by myself on travel - you bet. It is hard not to especially when I am away from my comfort zone. And do I probably take some benedryl when I can't distinguish if I am beginning to react to something or is it just anxiety - yes. You are not alone. Don't let your fears stop you. They did me when all this first started and my world of safety kept getting smaller. Take your precautions, have your meds, and know that if you need help that people will help you. You are not alone in this.

By cathlina on Mar 7, 2009

Some of things you are mentioning ARE strategies to avoid peanut exposure i.e. washing hands etc. Yes...peanut allergy is a constant, real and present threat so I don't think you are exaggerating the need to be viligant. I am wondering if you are taking too many risks with your food and that makes you feel anxious. I changed my diet drastically 5 years ago. I do not eat in restaurants. I eat only fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. I do not eat manufactured foods. I take my own prepared meals if I travel. As a result, I don't find myself worrying about whether I have eaten something I am allergic to. My diet is limited but I felt it was not really worth the anxiety to take risks in restaurants and manufactured foods. Also, due to the change in diet...I lost 60 lbs, my cholestrol went way down, blood pressure went down and I feel healthier.

By dragonlaurel on Mar 8, 2009

Anybody know of a cheap way to get blood tested for food allergies??? Most of mine just made themselves obvious but I still have one puzzle and it made my throat tight so I don't want to figure it out in a emergency room. I developed a peanut allergy about six years ago. I react to the nightshades, coconut and most citrus too, but not as serious. My main defense is reading labels. One time the label print was TINY - and a little blurry. I was in a hurry... 36 hours of hives (everywhere) wasn't worth it! Keep reading, it's less trouble. I don't have an epipen, but I want to get one or two. Large doses of vitamin C have helped a reaction, but it still wasn't easy. Eating out can be tricky. Being vegetarian already made me used to reading ingredient lists at least. Forget Checkers- they fry in peanut oil. I love Oriental food but if the server doesn't speak English well, I'll ask for someone else to translate to them. I'm too scared to do Thai food because peanut is in alot of their stuff. Taco Bell's 7 layer burrito is great. I ask for no sauce or I pay later about the nightshades. Washing hands before eating should be normal. I carried my lunch normally at my last job, but a few times I ate outside because somebody heated a Thai t.v. dinner or made a peanut butter sandwich and it was a small breakroom. The fresh air was a better choice. Read your ingredients on beauty products too. Some ayurvedic body and hair care products use peanut oil. Some of the Aubrey organics soaps do too. I use olive oil on my skin if starts getting dry- it's great.

By kalelpeanut on Mar 8, 2009

Why do you ask for no sauce in the 7 layer burrito? My son is allergic to peanuts, so I was just curious. Thanks

By sidni on Mar 10, 2009

To my understanding, she doesn't take the sauce because of nightshades (like tomato, pepper, etc).

By cathlina on Mar 10, 2009

Some sauces like spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, chili etc. can be made with peanuts to thicken the sauce. Rule: No red sauces unless you cook it yourself. Stay safe.