Seed Allergy - Fast Facts
This document has been developed by ASCIA, the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand. ASCIA information is based on published literature and expert review, is not influenced by commercial organisations and is not intended to replace medical advice.
- Seeds that may trigger allergy include sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Many of the foods that we consider to be nuts are part of a seed, often with the outer fruit or coating removed. For example, coconut husk and the inner white flesh is also a seed.
- Allergic reactions to seeds (or other foods), range from mild to severe. Mild to moderate signs of food allergy include swelling of face, lips or eyes, hives or welts on the skin, tingling mouth, abdominal (stomach) pain, and vomiting.
- Signs of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) include any one of the following; difficult or noisy breathing, swelling of the tongue, swelling or tightness in the throat, wheeze or persistent cough, difficulty talking or hoarse voice, persistent dizziness or collapse. Young children may be pale and floppy.
- Food labelling laws in Australia and New Zealand require that any product containing peanut, tree nuts or seeds must be clearly labelled. It is important to always check the labels of all foods before purchase.
- When eating out with food allergy some precautions include contacting the restaurant, café, or home cook in advance to let them know of the food allergy, informing restaurant staff of the allergy on arrival, and not relying on menu descriptions as dips or sauces may have nuts in them.
- If an adrenaline (epinephrine) injector has been prescribed, the person with allergy should always have it with them. Having an adrenaline injector offers reassurance, but it is not a substitute for strategies to minimise the risk of exposure to allergen triggers.
- Under the supervision of a clinical immunology/allergy specialist and supportive contacts, people with allergy can learn to manage the condition.
© ASCIA 2023
Content updated June 2023
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