Allergy to sesame seeds is now the 9th most common allergy worldwide.
Reports of reactions to sesame foods are increasing rapidly, but whether this is because more people are developing sesame allergies, or because sesame seeds are more widely used, or because diagnosis rates have improved, no-one is sure.
- Is your baby under a year old?
- Does your baby suffer from atopic dermatitis?
- Is there a family history of food allergy or atopic dermatitis?
An allergy to the protein found in sesame seeds and products that contain sesame seeds (which come from the seed pods of sesame plants) can trigger severe reactions in some people – including anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal.
If you are thinking of including sesame in your baby’s diet, talk to your doctor. Some experts suggest giving ground sesame seeds from 8 months of age, others suggest 12 months. And some feel that – as reactions to sesame seeds can be so severe – it is best to avoid anything containing them until a child is at least 3 years old!
As with most allergies, symptoms can include:
- BREATHING PROBLEMS – congestion, wheezing, coughing, sneezing
- STOMACH PROBLEMS – cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
- SKIN PROBLEMS – rashes, red welts or hives anywhere on the face or body
- RUNNY NOSE
If your baby has eaten any food containing sesame seed – including sesame oil – and shows any of these symptoms afterwards, SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE AT ONCE. If he has an allergy the reaction may be mild at first, but a future reaction could be much worse.
Doctors now recommend referral for suspected allergies to specialist clinics. These clinics not only assess using the ‘skin prick test’, but are also able to carry out further methods of identifying specific allergies.
Some foods that contain sesame:
- Bread and breaded foods
- Biscuits (cookies), crackers and snack foods
- Cereals and muesli
- Salads and salad dressings
- Soups, sauces, dips and chutneys
- Hummus and tahini
- Processed meats and sausages
- Stir-fries and risottos
- Gomashio and tempeh seasonings
Other products that contain sesame:
- First aid plasters (Band-Aids)
- Soaps, ointments and liniments
- Hair products and sunscreens
- Fungicides and insecticides
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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