• Question: When people have allerges to (for example) food is there a way that they can still eat the food, because my sister is allergic to white chocolate?

    Asked by sarahhalls to Cesar, Emily, Jamie, Kate, Philippa on 19 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Kate Clancy

      Kate Clancy answered on 17 Jun 2011:

      Hi Sarah,

      You can take allergy shots for certain foods, but not all of them. For instance if you are allergic to raw versions of foods, but you don’t get a reaction from cooked versions, allergy shots can’t help you (I know this because I am allergic to raw apples but can eat them cooked).

      However, some food allergies are secondary to other allergies, like pollen. So my apple allergy happens to be secondary to my birch tree allergy. Currently I am taking allergy shots to try and cure my allergies to grass, mold, trees and other stuff, and the doctor thinks I may cure my secondary allergies by curing my primary allergies.

      If your sister goes to see an allergist she can find out for sure. But I’m going to be honest, most likely your sister will have to stay away from white chocolate forever, and she should carry an epi-pen just in case she eats some by accident. (I carry one around, myself!)

      Do you or anyone else in your family have allergies too? I find how allergies sometimes run in families interesting.

    • Photo: Emily Robinson

      Emily Robinson answered on 17 Jun 2011:

      From what I know allergies normally get worse not better, as your body reacts a little when you are exposed the first time but you don’t have any way to recognise that specific thing BUT then some of your immune cells (think of some of your white blood cells) start to make a template to recognise that specific thing. So the next time you are exposed your body reacts more! So it might be a good idea for your sister to be very careful not to eat any more white chocolate.

    • Photo: Philippa Demonte

      Philippa Demonte answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      @sarahhalls Like your sister, I suffer from food allergies too, as does my mother. Unlike those who suffer from hayfever, we can at least avoid the foods or drinks that we are allergic to, and there are plenty of other things that we can eat instead, so life really isn’t so bad.

      I’ve got a friend in America whose kids are allergic to a lot of things, including milk and gluten. If you like I can ask him what he would recommend as an alternative to white chocolate.

      (Several days later….) My friend asks – what is it in the white chocolate that your sister is allergic to: the milk, or the cocoa? He says if it is milk (like his daughter), there are actually lactose (milk)-free versions of chocolate available. If it’s the cocoa, he’s not sure.

      I guess your sister could always try carob as an alternative to chocolate. It doesn’t quite taste as nice, but at least it wouldn’t give her an allergic reaction!

    • Photo: Jamie Gallagher

      Jamie Gallagher answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      @sarah pollen and raw carrots are my little enemies. The women of your group have this well covered. I would try and find specifically what in the chocolate your sister is allergic too. It may be that she could find certain white chocolate that is safe for her to eat. Until then, stay away from the kinder eggs!