Corn Allergy: An Ominpresent Danger

Corn Allergy:  An Ominpresent Danger

Corn allergies are not terribly common, but are terribly hard to deal with.  Corn, or one or more of its derivatives, seem to be in the majority of food items, often hiding from the ingredients list. Corn derivatives are also in many other everyday items making life especially challenging for those that do suffer from a corn allergy.  Sufferers range from those being mildly sensitive to those who are extremely allergic.  The symptoms include hives, eczema, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, even a drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing.  Corn is omnipresent and for those with corn allergies, can be potentially deadly.

Corn is everywhere

There are over 200 derivatives of corn on the market today, with more added each year. It can be found in foods you would never think were linked with corn. Here are a few: baking powder, confectioner's sugar, sauces, dressings, french fries, fish sticks, cured meats, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, vegetable broth, and fast-food milk shakes.

Even worse, many of those derivatives are used in non-food products that people encounter everyday. You can find it non-food products like cosmetics, mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant, vitamins, plastics, envelope adhesives, balloons, beach balls, cardboard, clothing, stuffed animals, toilet paper, medicines, and IV solutions. This makes daily living precarious for anyone with corn allergies.

Protections are non-existent

Based on number of occurrences, corn ranks number nine in the list of top food allergens. The top eight food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish) are covered by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. This Act requires products that include any of those eight allergens to label the package. But for corn there are no labeling requirements, which leaves those with corn allergies to their own devices.

Kids are especially vulnerable

Children with corn allergies deal with an even higher level of danger because they are not fully aware of the extent of the problem. Treats, stuffed animals, plastic toys, everything must be carefully inspected and monitored. Playing with a simple beach ball or blowing up a balloon could trigger a serious reaction. Any caregiver for the child must be fully aware of the corn allergy. Attending daycare or school poses even more danger.

Medical attention can be deadly

If someone with a corn allergy has need for medical attention an entirely new set of problems is exposed.  IV solutions and medicines often contain corn derivatives like starch or dextrose. Even over the counter medication should be screened thoroughly. For those with corn allergies, a medical alert bracelet is strongly recommended.

How extensive is the  a corn allergy problem?

The number of people with a corn allergy is not easy to determine. One source says up to 10 million people in the United States have an allergy or intolerance for corn. Another source estimated 2 percent of the general population has a corn allergy. With a population of just over 317.5 million people in the U.S., that would mean about 6.35 million people could have corn allergies.

One of the significant problems is the fact that corn allergies and sensitivities often go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed as another condition. That means there are potentially thousands, if not millions, of people in the U.S. with corn allergy or sensitivity who are suffering unaware.

If you suspect you have a corn allergy, you should speak with your medical care provider about getting tested. Meanwhile, you should start trying some corn-free products to see if they make a difference. You can try one of the corn-free cookies we make here at Deborah Kaye's Cookies. For more information, read About Us or send us an email via our contact us page.