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We just learned that our 1-year old is allergic to red and yellow food coloring. Poor baby got hives from (among other things) his first birthday cake. Our led recommended allergy testing, but since tests aren't really conclusive u til age 6 we're holding off for now. Mostly the advice I've been reading is to keep him away from processed foods and delay the introduction of other common allergenic foods such as peanut butter. A colleague of mine has lived with this allergy for decades, and has given me a list of "hidden dye names" to look for in ingredient lists. Caramel coloring is apparently Red 40--who knew? I imagine there are a few for blue dyes as well.

Good luck to you and little Max!

Could your week get any worse? Poor Max and poor you!! Hope he's ok!!

How scary! Kudos to Dr. Kate for her medical detective work.

Luckily, it's not really that hard to educate kids about how crappy artificial food coloring can be. We definitely consume some, but less than we used to. I make my son read the ingredient list—if it's full of chemicals and MSG and things he can't pronounce, it's not going to be a regular purchase. (Compare Doritos with a zillion ingredients and additives to potato chips, which have only potatoes, oil, and salt.)

Carolyn, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramel_color), caramel color is entirely different from red #40. It's the other stuff in Coke and Diet Coke (sugar or artificial sweetener, phosphoric acid) that is problematic from dietary and dental standpoints.

The American craze for red velvet cake? A typical recipe calls for tons of red food coloring—which is red #40 and red #3. Blech!

My nephew is allergic to red food coloring...so no red popsicles, koolaid, etc.... he never got hives but threw up each and every single time he ate something with red coloring. At least you know where it came from, but how scary!!! good luck :)

Poor Max has been in the wars hasn't he! Must have been terrifying to see such an allergic reaction come on so quickly. Seems like quite a strong reaction for a first time reaction, so you will need to watch him as the next one could be a lot worse. Glad to hear you and he are doing better

What a horrible scare! At least you know now what caused it.

Eek! Poor pumpkin. And poor you too.

Poor Max, that lip looks scary!
Re the food colouring: that stuff is poison, but it's near impossible to live without it these days.

Oh how awful. we had to deal with this before we discovered my daughters cashew allergy so I know how frightening it can be. She hadn't even eaten them directly! Must have had a cookie made in a nut factory or something. We hate hives.

I was allergic to red and green colouring when until I was all grown up (although you don't eat much colouring in an adult diet). I remember throwing up green iceblocks and red milkshakes and rashes and swollen ears from playing with food colouring bottles.

The last time I had a bad reaction was from fruit cake with the green and red fake cherries.

It is fairly easy to avoid food colouring (compared to egg and dairy like my son is allergic to) but sorry you will be reading lots of labels from now on. He will end up with a healthier diet probably so that's a silver lining.

I'm allergic to all food coloring. at least now benadryl comes with a dye free option. if you buy organic candy they are usually food coloring free.

Hives are scary looking, aren't they! My son broke out after using new bath soap on New Year's Day! Thankfully, me peds office was open.

My daughter broke out in full-body hives recently, too. The ped thinks it was viral but said when he writes a book on pediatrics, one chapter will be titled "If you want to make your doctor look stupid, come in with hives." They usually never figure out what causes them, particularly if they are one-time events.

My advice, as a chemist and a mom: avoid any food/medicine with artificial coloring: brilliant blue, red 40 (especially!)...they are all bad, especially for kids. This may mean eating cereals that don't have smurfs on the box, unfortunately. And you may as well also avoid antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and other products containing triclosan.

I would like to propose not to hold off until you get enough amount of money to order different goods! You should just get the credit loans or collateral loan and feel yourself free

food colouring, natural and artificial can be the devil. most processed (as in shop bought packaged foods) contain a medley of additives KNOWN to cause reactions! consumers tend to be naive when it comes to buying things on supermarket shelves assuming them to be safe. food sensitivities can cause insomnia or poor sleeping habits, temper tantrums, nervous reactions, delayed toilet training, behavioural issues. they can also cause hypersensitivity of the skin (i.e. reaction to clothing tags etc), migraines, stomach upsets, asthma. they can also cause similar behaviours to adhd and manifest as learning disabilities, or just plain whingy and whiny behaviour. many a kid has ended up on ritalin or antihistamines or valium or antidepressants when they were being adversely affected by elements in their food. my now 4 yr old did not sleep thru the night until she was placed on an elimination diet by a dietitian helping us to identify causes of HIVES (food colouring!) and behavioural issues. three days after removing certain foods from her diet, VOILA 12 hours sleep. she now almost always sleeps thru; and the enormous temper tantrums (beyond managing sometimes) happen no longer. if he is sensitive to one colour it is worth investigating other things. this site http://members.ozemail.com.au/~breakey/ or this one http://blog.dietinvestigation.com/ may be of interest to you.

I took amelia to the dietitian because i was scared she would end up being diagnosed with a behaviour disorder, and have an unhappy teenage life and adult life as a results - she is now 'normal' as in just like any other 4 year old - no medication or therapy, just applied knowledge in her diet. and she is so much happier and easier to manage. win win all round. seriously WORTH investigating.

Look out for anything vaguely blue. purple. green. pale green shampoos. lotions. dish soap. Some kids bubble solutions. Bubblebaths. I'm guessing Sunlight has some blue in it.

I use to refuse to allow my children to eat the blue smarties coz I had heard "somewhere" that they were not good. My children always thought I was just being funny and for a long time, even if they had smarties without me, they would keep the blue ones for me. Now I see smarties don't make blue ones anymore.....

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