If you're among the roughly 15 million Americans with one or more food allergies, you know the challenges you can face when eating anywhere outside your home, given that you can't control every ingredient you consume. While you've likely become well-versed with meticulously checking ingredient labels when you shop at the supermarket, there's a surprising list of non-food products that you should steer clear from, too. These products often contain common food allergens that could quickly give you an unexpected allergic reaction. Here are three different non-food products that you should avoid using -- or use with great discretion -- if you have food allergies.
Certain Cosmetic Products
A wide range of cosmetic products contain tree nut oils that could cause you to have an allergic reaction. Almond oil, cashew oil and peanut oil can all be found in creams, hair products and other forms of cosmetics. If you're allergic to tree nuts, it's important to choose your cosmetics wisely. While there are certainly a number of cosmetic products that do not contain tree nuts -- and many brands specifically identify themselves as being nut free -- it's important to diligently check the labels of the products you're considering buying and consider contacting the manufacturers with any questions.
If you're an avid gardener or landscaper, it's important to take a mindful approach to the products you buy to help you beautify your yard. Ground peanut shells can appear in gardening products such as potting soil, compost accelerators and mulch. This inclusion might not cause harm to those with mild peanut allergies, but if your allergy is severe enough that you'll have a reaction if your skin comes into contact with a peanut product, you could be at risk from using such products. It's important to check with the manufacturers of any gardening products you buy or look for products that are labeled as not containing peanuts.
While not technically a "food" product per se, your daily vitamins might be the last place you'd think to look for soy. This common allergen, however, is routinely included in a wide range of vitamins. Soy is also prevalent in many nutritional supplements, although you might already steer clear of these products if you have a soy allergy. Given that many people rely on vitamins to improve their health, it's important to use discretion when shopping and purchase only those products labeled as free of soy.
If you need further guidance, talk to a local allergy doctor, like Alidina Laila MD.