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Ariana Grande Develops Sudden Food Allergy to Tomatoes

Ariana Grande Develops Sudden Food Allergy to Tomatoes

Ariana Grande food allergy

In May Ariana Grande announced on Instagram that a sudden illness caused her to cancel scheduled performances in Orlando and Tampa. A day later she revealed a sudden allergy to tomatoes had caused her throat to close and that she still felt as though she were “swallowing a cactus”.

Most of us associate food allergies with children and babies, not twenty-five-year-olds who have been eating tomatoes all their lives. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) Open Network revealed 10% of adult Americans reported having developed a food allergy in adulthood. Less than 25% of those, however, did not have any allergies as a child.

Interestingly, only half of those adults who reported a food allergy had mentioned it to their medical provider. Most simply avoided the offending food.

What’s your risk?

It’s hard to pinpoint the risk of a specific person to develop a food allergy in adulthood. Allergies often develop after repeated exposure to a substance, which means you might have eaten that shrimp pasta without any problems a week ago but you could experience a reaction to it today. As mentioned above, only 10% of adults report a food allergy so don’t let this fear keep you up at night.

What are the symptoms?

Food allergies almost always include some type of skin reaction which could include swelling, itching, and hives. Other reactions may include one or more of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Repetitive cough
  • Shock
  • A weak pulse
  • Dizziness

Most reactions to food happen within 30-60 minutes of having ingested the substance.

How do we treat it?

Obviously avoiding the offending food is first on the list, but you should also contact your doctor. You may need to carry an Epi-pen.

Another reason to contact your provider and see an allergist is your allergy may not be to the food you suspect. Medications can lower the immune system allowing your body to overreact to normal substances or your allergy could be to the medication and not the food at all. It’s also possible you have an “oral allergy syndrome” where your body mistakes the proteins in the food you’ve eaten to pollen like grass to which you are allergic.

What are the most common food allergies?

Never heard of a tomato allergy? That’s probably because it’s not on the list of the top 9 most common food allergies, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a real allergy. Most food allergies in adults, however, are related to one of these:

  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Tree Nuts
  • Sesame
  • Finfish
  • Eggs

Ariana Grande is back on her concert tour now, which is a reminder that food allergies may alter some of what you can eat, but it doesn’t have to limit your activity.

How to Choose the Best Dairy Alternatives

milk; dairy substitutes; milk substitutes

If dairy products leave you with digestive upset including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you aren’t alone. A report from the National Institutes of Health shows 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Science shows children’s bodies are equipped with an enzyme called lactase which breaks down the lactose in their mother’s milk. As children move into adulthood, many lose this enzyme leaving them unable to comfortably digest dairy products.

Luckily, grocery store shelves are filled with dairy alternatives to sweeten your coffee, pour over your cereal or substitute in recipes. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or have chosen to live dairy free as part of a vegan or paleo lifestyle, the most important step in choosing a dairy alternative is to consider the nutritional benefits.

One cup of milk contains:

  • 146 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 13 grams of carbohydrates

Luckily most dairy alternatives are lower in calories, but they do not offer the same amount of protein. When you’re checking out the nutritional label of any dairy alternative, look for:

  • At least 7-8 grams of protein
  • The words “unsweetened” or “0 grams added sugar”
  • Fortified with calcium and vitamin D
  • Low amounts of saturated fats
  • Less than 140 mg of sodium per cup

Milk Substitutions

 almond milk; dairy substitutions; milk substitutes; lactose intolerance

One of the most common dairy alternatives is soy milk. It contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk with fewer calories and fat content. It may have an odd taste for those making the switch. Try several brands, and check the nutritional information, before deciding it isn’t for you though.

Another popular alternative now is almond milk. With around 30-35 calories per cup, this option has much fewer calories than cow’s milk but it also contains only 1 g of protein. Almond milk may be used as a substitute in coffee and baked goods. Although almonds are known for their high concentration of protein and fiber, almond milk is often a watered-down variety of whole almonds. To receive the most nutritional benefit from almond milk, look for varieties with higher almond content, 7-15%.

Coffee drinkers looking for an alternative to dairy creamers find coconut milk a creamy, rich choice. With 45 calories per cup, 4 g of fat and 0 protein or carbohydrates, it’s a great option for those wishing to cut calories. If you’re looking to keep or increase your protein intake, however, you’ll need to keep looking.

In addition to these popular substitutions, you’ll also find rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, flax milk, cashew milk, and tiger nut milk in some specialty stores as alternatives to dairy. As mentioned above look at the nutritional values before snatching one off the shelf. Each has its pros and cons.

Butter Alternatives

butter; dairy alternatives; lactose intolerance

Good news for those who enjoy butter, this dairy product has a very low lactose level! Because of the way it’s produced, it has a low liquid level which is where lactose is contained in milk. If you’re still sure you want to substitute butter, we do have a few ideas for you.

Margarine is the top contender for replacing butter in recipes, but other options may fit the bill even better depending on your nutritional needs and your recipe.

Olive oil can effectively replace butter when sauteing foods. Coconut oil can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for butter in most recipes although it may add a slightly sweeter flavor than butter.

A ripe avocado or banana can also be substituted for butter in baked recipes.


dairy; hard cheese; cheese, lactose intolerance; milk substitute; dairy substitute

Similar to butter, hard cheeses contain much lower levels of lactose than a glass of milk. Aged cheeses have even lower levels of lactose. Soft cheese such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, and Brie do have higher levels of lactose than hard cheeses, but may not cause symptoms in small portions.

Ice Cream

dairy free sorbet; non dairy ice cream; lactose intolerance; dairy substitute; milk substitute

What summer vacation would be complete with a little ice cream? You don’t have to completely give up frozen desserts because of lactose intolerance. Many brands offer lactose-free ice cream and sorbet contains no dairy.

If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier, schedule a visit with one of our providers to talk about your health and nutrition.

When OTC Seasonal Allergy Medications Aren’t Enough

allergy season in northeast Ms

We’re smack in the middle of the “yellow season” in Mississippi. While the warmth of spring thaws our bodies and spirits, it also sprouts the trees and grass which produce pollen responsible for seasonal allergies. If your seasonal allergy medications aren’t doing the trick keep reading.

Many over-the-counter seasonal allergy medications such as antihistamines and nasal sprays keep allergy symptoms at bay especially if used consistently. Patients may also reduce their reactions by showering after being outside, keeping pets out of bedrooms, closing outside doors and windows and wearing face masks and sunglasses when working outside. Unfortunately for some patients, these precautions aren’t enough.

What do you do when your sneezing, watering eyes, and stuffy nose persist even after you’ve eliminated as much pollen as possible? It might be time to see your provider.

When to see your provider

Our bodies naturally protect themselves against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes our bodies react to other substances like pollen which are not harmful. Severe allergies happen when our body really overreacts to these substances.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions make an appointment with your medical provider or your allergy specialist.

  • Have your allergies led to chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or breathing problems?
  • Do you experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms more than a couple of months out of the year?
  • Are you using over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays without improvement?
  • Have your seasonal allergies or asthma decrease your quality of life or interfere with your day-to-day activities?
  • Do you struggle to catch your breath at times?
  • Do you wheeze or cough mainly at night or after exercise?
  • Are you short of breath or feel a tightening in your chest?
  • Have you been diagnosed with asthma but your medications aren’t working?

How can my provider help?

If over-the-counter seasonal allergy medications aren’t helping, it might be time for your provider to prescribe stronger medication. Another option is one that treats your allergies in a different way. It’s also possible that the over-the-counter medications you’re using may have negative side-effects you don’t like.

Your medical provider can determine if you need a referral to an allergy specialist or if they can treat your allergies before making that referral. An allergy specialist can test to find out what exactly is causing your allergies and may discuss immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treats allergies by introducing an increasing amount of the allergen via injection over months or years.

If you’re tired of struggling with your stuffy nose make an appointment with your provider. Together you can discuss new options for treating your allergies so you can enjoy the spring weather.

Allergy Season in Northeast Mississippi

allergy season in northeast MsEvery year during the spring and summer seasons, people who suffer from allergies suffer in silence. In the South, the longer growing season, temperate weather, and tons of rainfall means plants grow and bloom longer than in northern climates which makes the allergy season in the places like Mississippi much longer and more intense.

What Is An Allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to something that is harmless. Take pollen for instance. It’s a fine powder emitted into the air by flowers in order to fertilize other flowers like itself. It’s harmless to human beings, but to people allergic to pollen, the immune system misidentifies the pollen as a foreign invader like a bacteria. In order to protect the body against this invader, (a.k.a an allergen) the immune system releases a bunch of chemicals that causes symptoms such as inflamed skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.

Of course, you can be allergic to many different things, not just pollen. People are allergic to certain types of bugs, pet dander, and certain foods. The most common allergies found in Mississippi are pollen allergies and stinging insect allergies.

Pollen Allergies

Pollen allergies are as described above. They’re the immune response the body has to the allergen pollen when it is mistaken for an invader in the body. Because of Mississippi’s temperate climate, the pollen from trees, grasses and weeds is a major source of allergies in the state. To beat these allergies, it’s best to just stay indoors when pollen is bad. If you have to go outside, make sure you wash your face and your clothes often when you come back in.

Insect Allergy

The second most common type of allergy in Mississippi is a stinging insect allergy. The allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to the venom stinging insects inject into their victims. Most people are not allergic to stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants. For these people, a sting from these insects will likely result in swelling, pain, and redness at the site of the sting.

It’s very important for people to understand the difference between a normal reaction to an insect sting and an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction to an insect sting can become life threatening in a very short period of time, and a person who may not know they are allergic may dismiss their symptoms as merely pain from the sting.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to an insect sting include pain, swelling, and redness not confined to the area of the sting, but spreading to other parts of the body. Flushing, hives, and itching are also common symptoms. The most severe allergic reactions will need immediate medical attention and symptoms could include abdominal cramping, vomiting, intense nausea or diarrhea, tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing, and anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. It may progress so rapidly that it leads to stop breathing, collapse, experience seizures, and lose consciousness within 1 to 2 minutes. The reaction may be fatal unless emergency treatment usually in the form of a dose of epinephrine administered in an auto-injector (also known as an Epi-Pen) is given immediately.

If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, you may need to see an allergist  about allergy shots. Allergy shots can be effective at preventing anaphylaxis from insect stings. Also, avoid wearing perfume or cologne and  bright colors, and always wear socks and shoes outside. The sweet perfume and bright colors will attract stinging insects. Socks and shoes will help protect your feet from fire ants.

MRHC is dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of compassionate, personal and trustworthy medical care in a warm and welcoming environment. If you think you may have a sinus infection call 662-282-4226 to schedule an appointment.



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