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How food allergies affect their families

Updated on December 7, 2012

When your allergic to Iodine

I'm sure everyone is familiar with food in-tolerances or allergies like shellfish, gluten, dairy and nuts. But I wonder how many people are aware of my husband's allergy. He has a true allergy to Iodine that makes him break out in a rash, nauseous and dry heave. If he eats shellfish he goes into Anaphylactic shock. This allergy keeps him from eating / touching anything with Iodized salt in it, foods fried in the same cooking oil as shellfish and he cant breath in iodine fumes.

He always ate shrimp with his Dad when he was younger then one day when he was a teenager he had a reaction to shellfish and had to be given a epinephrine shot and he thought that was the extent of the allergy. But unfortunately he learned the hard way that he was allergic to all forms of Iodine while he was on active duty in the Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps it is common practice to clean wounds with Iodine and that is exactly what they did. He cut himself on razor wire so the Corpsman cleaned it, bandaged it and sent him on his way. However a couple hours later he had to go back to the Corpsman because his hand was in extreme pain with red streaks going up the arm. After he arrived at the clinic he started to have labored breathing and a bad headache. They removed his bandage only to find his wound had pus coming out of it and his hand was swollen about twice of its normal size. Of course both my husband and the Corpsman were mortified. They had never seen anyone react to Iodine like that. The Corpsman called for the Doctor and she to was surprised that he had a reaction. The Doctor had no choice but to drain the pus, clean his wound with alcohol and give him an allergy shot. My husband was in so much pain after that he had to be given a Vicodin.

Since that fateful day my husband has been extra careful so he doesn't get sick again. He was able to do it very well until we moved from California to Colorado. We didn't realize that Colorado didn't specify to restaurants like California did about using iodized salt while cooking. Also in California restaurants aren't allowed fry foods in the same cooking oil as shellfish so he never had a problem. When we went out for the first time here he got deathly sick and had a headache for a whole week.

His allergy affects us immensely since we have to be careful with all restaurants whether they are Fast food or sit down. Just to be safe we call beforehand so we can talk to the cook or manager and get the 411 on how the food is prepared. After we find an acceptable restaurant we try it out. Like for example the only pizza places he can eat is Little Caesars and Pizza hut. But the restrictions don't stop there, going to pot lucks or BBQ's can be harmful to his health since it is common for people to cook with Iodized salt or shellfish for that matter. The allergy carries over into supplements, vitamins and even baby formula. Iodine is one of the most used ingredients in these products due to the fact it is essential for your thyroid and goiter. I'm just glad that none of my children have his allergy because I can't breastfeed and as far as I know there isn't one single baby formula that doesn't have iodine in it. My husband felt very down on himself since he couldn't make his children's bottles without gloves, apron and mask.

What most people don't know is Iodine is laced into everything like feed for cows and the dirt we grow are produce in so eating completely Iodine free diet is impossible. I guess this is why his thyroid always comes back within normal range. Because he cant eliminate all Iodine sources so he experiences Irritable Bowel Symptoms and rashes on a daily basis which he needs to take medication for. If I could have my own farm to better control what is in our food I would do it in a heartbeat so he could have more of a peaceful body


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    • bulldogrocks profile image

      bulldogrocks 6 years ago from Colorado

      It is surprising how we play off are symptoms as a something else when it is staring us in the face. Good luck on your results and hopefully you can get on the road to recovery.

    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I had food allergies for years and dind't even know it. Being a tough guy on active duty, well, tough guys don't have allergies. I always blew off the symptoms as reaction to anthrax shots, Gulf War illness, exposure to vehicle exhaust, gun smoke, hydraulic fluid, lousy cooks, stanky indigs, whatever excuse I could come up with. Anything but allergies! The stomach pain, I convinced myself it was ulcers, that was a cool tough-guy problem to have, and the other symptoms, (beer belly?) I let my co-workers assume I'd been drinking too much, although I dind't drink very often and didn't drink much. But it sounded better than being allergic, I suppose. Now I'm retired and I'm starting the process of figuring out what I'm allergic to. So far, I think it's wheat and garlic. Awaiting test results.

      I now wish I'd taken care of this about twenty years ago when it first started.