Legume allergies

Legumes are a family of foods including peas, beans, lentils and, of course, peanuts.

An allergy to one member of the family, peanuts for instance, does not mean automatic allergy to other members. Still, for some people, there will be cross allergies among the different legumes. If you are allergic to one, you could be allergic to two or three others.

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Symptoms

Mild symptoms are usually tolerable and include stomach pain and/or vomiting, itching, redness of the skin, hives (sometimes around the mouth), swelling of the lips, mouth or throat and a cough. A severe allergic response might include wheezing and anaphylaxis (throat swelling, choking, breathing difficulty and collapse). Some people may have a topical response when touching a legume which would lead to a rash on the fingers and may spread if the fingers touch other areas of the body.

Be Prepared

If you know you have a severe reaction to legumes, you probably also know to carry an injector with you. An Epipen or similar should be on your person as well as kept in other places you frequent: school, the car, work. You must know how to work the Epipen so be sure to regularly review with your doctor so that it will be most effective when needed. For lesser allergies, you may want to have an antihistamine on standby, again, in your purse, backpack or the glove box in the car.

Types of Legumes

  • Peas include green peas, split or dried peas, sugar snap peas or snow peas.
  • Beans include kidney, cannellini, pinto, borlotti, black, navy, French/green/string, mung, adzuki, black-eyed, lima, garbanzo, fava and soya.
  • Lentils include brown, red, puy, green, beluga, pardina.
  • Peanuts of all origins.

Source: Nottingham Children’s Hospital

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