In 2021, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act recognized sesame seed allergy as the ninth top food allergy in the world.
In fact, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million Americans, or 0.49 percent of the population, are impacted by an allergy to sesame seeds, which can be found in a wide variety of foods and cosmetics, including many Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.
If you or your loved ones have a sesame seed allergy, know you’re not alone. Throughout this post, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about:
- The main symptoms of a sesame allergy
- How and why your body produces an allergy reaction
- How best to diagnose, prevent, and treat your sesame allergy
Keep reading to learn more about how to notice and treat your symptoms safely and effectively.
Symptoms of a Sesame Seed Allergy
For some, living with a food allergy is nothing more than a mild annoyance, while for others, this condition can be life-threatening.
Wherever you are on this spectrum, there are some common symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Skin rash and hives
- Abdominal pain, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps
- Blocked nose and sneezing
- A flushed face
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat
- Restricted breathing, including symptoms of anaphylaxis such as a drop in pulse rate, throat constriction, and loss of consciousness
It is important to note that anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention.
How Does The Allergic Reaction Process Work
When you come into contact with sesame, your body releases chemicals such as histamine, which flood your bloodstream and cause the immune system to launch into a full-scale allergic reaction.
Which Foods Contain Sesame?
As well as forming a staple ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Asian dishes, sesame seeds, and oil can often be found in many packaged foods, such as pre-made gravies, marinades, salad dressings, and other sauces.
Snack foods such as rice cakes, bagel chips, tortilla chips, and pita chips often contain sesame, so you must read food labels carefully.
Who Is Most At Risk?
If you are allergic to sesame, your body will likely trigger allergic symptoms in response to other foods, too, such as tree nuts, other seeds, and rye grain.
Due to the phenomenon of the ‘atopic march,’ people living with eczema and asthma are also statistically more likely to develop food allergies.
Suppose you suspect that you might have an allergy to sesame seeds. In that case, one of the most proactive steps you can take towards seeking a diagnosis is to begin keeping an accurate food diary, logging all of the foods you’re consuming in your diet throughout the day, and keeping track of your symptoms.
Doctors will typically use three methodologies in the diagnosis of a sesame allergy. These include skin prick tests, blood tests, and a food challenge.
Within a food challenge, you will be asked to consume tiny amounts of sesame under safe and medically controlled circumstances so that allergists can track and monitor your body’s allergic response.
For people living with severe allergic reactions to sesame, getting a diagnosis can be a crucial way of ensuring you’re able to consistently access life-saving support, such as an Epi-pen, for example.
Preventing Allergic Reactions To Sesame
The first step in treating a sesame seed allergy is to avoid your triggers.
That means scanning food labels vigorously to check for any sesame ingredients, including those listed under alternative names such as:
- Benne and benne seed (benniseed)
- Gingelly oil
- Gomasio (sesame salt)
- Halvah Sesame flour
- Sesame paste
- Sesamol Sesamum
- Tahini (Tahina, Tehina, or Til)
Particularly if you suffer from severe allergic reactions, when dining out at a restaurant, be careful of cross-contamination, especially in kitchens where multiple foods containing sesame are being prepared in the same space.
Treating A Sesame Seed Allergy Rash
One of the most common symptoms of a sesame seed allergy is skin rashes or hives, which cause your skin to break out into inflamed, itchy patches, bumps, spots, or welts.
If this sounds familiar, don’t fret! We’ve got some tips to see you through.
Use An Anti-Inflammatory Moisturizer
This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is an excellent natural treatment for itchy, aggrevated skin. An oil-based balm, it’s made with six ingredients, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory Manuka honey.
It’s the perfect choice for sensitive skin because it does not burn or sting.
Wear Hypoallergenic Clothing
To help give your skin the best chance of a swift recovery and to avoid triggering your allergies even more, try swapping out your clothing for soft, breathable, hypoallergenic alternatives.
For example, these 100% Organic Cotton Camisoles are a great option to wear underneath your shirt or jumper as a soft base layer.
When it comes to underwear, the 100% Organic Cotton Bra Liner, 100% Organic Cotton Men’s Drawstring Boxers, and 100% Organic Cotton Socks for Eczema have all been specially designed for susceptible skin, made with just the right weight of organic cotton and soft ribbing to help soothe your itchy rash.
Soothe Your Sesame Seed Allergy Today
Follow these tips to help you identify whether or not you might be living with a sesame seed allergy and how best to tackle and manage your symptoms today.