Sesame allergy? — The Bump
Food Allergy

Sesame allergy?

We had DD allergy tested yesterday because she ended up with a rash and hives after eating egg.  We found out she is mildly allergic to eggs.  In fact, the allergist said she should be able to eat them in baked goods.  She can probably also eat the egg yolk without a problem.  However, we were surprised to find she had a pretty strong reaction to sesame.  He said to avoid any foods that have sesame in them.

Is anyone dealing with a sesame allergy?  At first I thought, eh, who eats sesame?  No big deal.  Then I started thinking of the bagels at church, what happens if she eats a bagel that has touched a sesame bagel?  McDonalds hamburgers, the fresh multigrain bread we eat, granola bars, and trail mix all have sesame in them. The food with sesame started multiplying.  As we were leaving, he let us know that hummus has sesame.  Never would have occurred to me, and DH had just asked the previous week if he could give her a taste of hummus.  Luckily, I had told him to hold off. 

What are some other common foods that I am missing that have sesame?  I was reading the sesame is not required to be labeled in food in the US.  

How do you find out just how allergic your child is to a food? 

How do I know if it is as extreme as not being able to even have contact with the food, or just can't ingest it?  Sesame seeds are so small, how much is needed to cause a reaction.

Sorry for the very basic questions, but now I am getting scared.  My family has never had any food allergies, so this is brand new territory for me.  Some people have said they were given a number 1-5 for their child's allergy? I wasn't given any sort of number.  How am I supposed to know just how vigilant I need to be?

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Re: Sesame allergy?

  • Thank you so much!  The sheet is perfect for sending to my family!

    I had asked about the blood test, but the allergist said the scratch test was more accurate.  He said the blood test sometimes gives false negatives. I will ask again about the blood test now that we have identified the allergens we need to watch out for and don't have to worry about false negatives.

    When I called him back today, I asked about the severity of the allergy.  He said in a ranking of 1-4, he would put the reaction at a 4 (being the strongest).  He said to avoid ingesting anything that lists sesame or several other ingredients on the label.  I told him I was concerned because sesame is not required to be listed and often falls under the "spices" label.  He said I don't need to be concerned to that level, just watch for the listed ingredients.  He did say that I should make sure to watch out for cross contamination and wash hands after handling anything with sesame, but the biggest concern is with ingestion.

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  • DD had a sesame seed allergy--she grew out of it in the fall but it was VERY hard for the time she had it. 

    In the US; sesame doesn't have to be listed on the ingredients--it falls under the category of "spices"---luckily her allergy wasn't super severe, but there were many times she would get random hives. Breads are the tough ones---most potato breads/hamburger rolls/hot dogs rolls contain sesame seeds. (we would have to use the store brand--that had no sesame seeds)

    Asian foods---particularly Chinese, usually a lot of sesame seeds; hibachi too (sesame seed chicken?) 

    Hummus is out.

    Lots of cosmetics are made with sesame oil. My cousin would kiss Reese and she would always have a red splotch on her face. 
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  • DS has a severe sesame allergy. We are in Canada and luckily, Health Canada recognizes sesame as a top allergen, requiring food labels to clearly mark it as an allergen (contains and may contain).

    Sesame seeds are small, but it only takes one to cause a reaction. DS's first reaction was mild enough (hives which went away with Benadryl) and we didn't know what the culprit was. His second reaction, following a small bite of a cracker with hummus, brought us to the hospital and eventually to an allergist. 

    Unfortunately, it is a hard allergy to manage because MANY foods contain sesame. Breads, crackers, dips, flavoured rice, hummus, mixed spices, buns… so many things contain or may contain sesame. Beware of the word "multigrain". Also, bread crumbs contain sesame seeds. We only use Panko. You're not just looking for sesame seeds as an ingredient, but tahini, oil, paste, etc. as well. Also, many lipsticks contain sesame oil. I'll share a link to the Health Canada info sheet that I've given my family. It contains other names it may be listed as, as well as food sources and non food sources. 

    I had once bought a sunscreen for DS and read the label once I got home only to find that sesame oil was an ingredient. 

    For bread, we only give DS light rye bread. Most all other breads may contain sesame seeds because they are all made at the same location as other breads or on the same line.

    We just know the severity of the allergy according to the two reactions he's had. We were not given a number. We have EpiPens and are instructed to use them whenever two systems react. 

    You have to read labels and it will just become a habit. You have to make sure that anyone caring for your child reads labels. Our families are really the biggest problem right now, they are not careful enough and it always happens that I have to take something off the table when we are together because they didn't read a label. Going out to restaurants is tough and that is something that our family is not allowed to do when we are not around.

    GL


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  • Thank you for all the great information!

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  • I've found sesame oil in a popular brand of candy corn, in veggie burgers, in body lotions, I heard it can be used in make up and lipsticks. I found sesame seeds used in Kashi brand cereals. 

    Just always, always, always read and double check labels, you will be surprised where you find sesame. My daughter is anaphylactic to sesame and peanuts. Hummus was the food we fed her that led to her diagnosis. 


  • summer80 said:
    I've found sesame oil in a popular brand of candy corn, in veggie burgers, in body lotions, I heard it can be used in make up and lipsticks. I found sesame seeds used in Kashi brand cereals. 

    Just always, always, always read and double check labels, you will be surprised where you find sesame. My daughter is anaphylactic to sesame and peanuts. Hummus was the food we fed her that led to her diagnosis. 

    Thank you.  I was shocked to find it in veggie burgers, but was pleasantly surprised it was not in the granola my husband likes.  How did you find out she was anaphylactic?  Did she actually have an anaphylactic reaction?  I wish I knew the severity of her allergy.  I just know we were told to avoid it, and were given an epipen jr.

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