Need help!!

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My 20 month old was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when he was 11 months old (we had suspected a milk allergy which is why we were there but that was negative). He had a reaction to peanuts after swiping a knife out of the dishwasher at 13 months. Ever since we've just avoided.

We went back today for a follow up allergy appt and not only is he allergic to peanuts but he's also allergic to pistachios, hazelnuts, green peppers, and vanilla!!

This totally explains why he has reacted every time he's eaten ice cream... I thought it was just peanut contamination but now I am guessing it was really the vanilla.

I am at a TOTAL loss here for the vanilla!! That reaction was just as bad as the peanut one too. Anyone have any idea how on earth I find avoidance lists for vanilla???

On Feb 13, 2007

Wow. I feel for you. I think if it were me, I would find out whether you're dealing with an allergy to natural vanilla extractives or to "VANILLIN" (which is a single aromatic compound that is just one component of natural vanilla extracts...)

If it is the former, then not quite so scary. Real vanilla is actually not as common in everyday products-- because it is quite an expensive ingredient. [i]MOSTLY[/i] that one is used as a flavoring [i]only[/i]. This is because the other non-volatile components of real vanilla beans add complexity, but very little in the way of an 'aromatic scent.'

Vanillin, on the other hand, is in [i]everything[/i] from glue to laundry detergent and perfumes, cosmetics, lotions... to car air fresheners to room deodorizers to erasers and scented markers... as well as every food imaginable. Well, I don't think I've ever seen it in sausage....

The good news is that 'vanillin' itself is usually produced synthetically (as the process is cheaper)-- it is NOT usually derived from vanilla beans/pods.

Have to find out from your allergist what you are dealing with, though. This one could be as scary to live with as a latex allergy. (I know someone with patchouli anaphylaxis-- it is very tough to manage.)

Here's a quick chemist's blog notes about vanillin and a related compound. (Not light reading, probably, but it explains what I was attempting to say and shows a picture....) [url=""][/url]

Ed. to correct spelling... ugh.

[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited February 13, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited February 13, 2007).]

On Feb 13, 2007

Gosh... I never even thought to ask about real vs synthetic vanilla!! I was in too much shock that he even said vanilla to begin with!!

The test sheet just says "vanilla" and the allergist just said to avoid "vanilla" Should I assume that just means natural??

Unfortunately our allergist is not easy to get a hold of or in to... which is why I braved the nasty winter weather storm we are having today instead of cancelling the appt. [img][/img] We don't go back for 6 months now.

He has reacted to vanilla ice cream a number of times... we always got him vanilla assuming it was the safest from peanuts [img][/img] Do they use real vanilla in most ice creams??

He also reacted to an apple nutra-grain bar yesterday which the allergist was assuming had vanilla even thought it was listed (had another one in my pack). It did list "natrual flavorings" Does that mean that vanilla could be a natural flavoring and I need to avoid that??

I am sorry to have so many questions... I am just at a loss here!! I looke through my cupboard and even things that say "vanilla" in the title don't have it listed in the ingredients?????

On Feb 13, 2007

Yes, like I said-- this one could be quite a bad thing to live with. Vanilla and vanillin most certainly CAN be hidden in "flavorings" which means you'll be stuck calling every time. [img][/img]

First find out whether your allergist tested a whole vanilla extract (meaning natural vanilla) or 'vanillin' meaning ethyl vanillin the compound.

At least that way you'll know you have to call about "natural flavorings" and not any type of "flavorings" at all.

On Feb 13, 2007

My pa tna son reacts to "natural flavorings" many of which are actually added chemicals like amyl acetate. this is oftened used to give a pear or banana fruit flavoring to foods. I have a great list of all these "natural flavorings" that people react to -- as soon as I find it I will post.

------------------ mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (9), mild excema

On Feb 13, 2007

Awesome!! Thanks!

On Feb 13, 2007

"natural flavoring" is on my list of WHEAT allergens... things to avoid for wheat allergies given to me by friend that's a dietician... i've also seen "natural flavoring" listed on another source as something to avoid if food is labeled with such, if you have a wheat allergy... so maybe you're also dealing with a wheat allergy, if reacting to natural flavorings?

i'm VERY new to this allergy game, so I can say NOTHING for sure at this point, just due to lack of knowledge and inexperience so far, but just thought I'd throw in the point about natural flavoring containing wheat! goodluck!

On Feb 14, 2007

I'd heard that about natural flavorings containing wheat. My mother is allergic to wheat. She went on a strict avoidence diet for several years and now can tolerate it in small portions. That was another thing we thought maybe Matthew was allergic to when we first took him in at 11 months for chronic constipation that even meds didn't help, blood in stools, chronic ear infections (he's now had tubes twice), and horrible eczema.

somtimes I still wonder about wheat... but he's tested negative twice on skin and once on blood so I guess it must not be [img][/img]

On Feb 15, 2007


Chronic constipation can sometimes be an indication of celiac disease. I mention it because celiac disease is *majorly* underdiagnosed.. . . and is way more common than wheat allergies. If you think your son is reacting to wheat but he is not allergic, this could be one possibility.