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Red Dye Allergy

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Old 10-15-2005, 09:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2005
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^Sunshine^ HB User
Smile Red Dye Allergy Infomation

My daughter is allergic to ALL Red Dye in foods and drinks unless it is all natural such as natural Carmine coloring, Beet Juice or natural juices.

She has been tested and we also went through a trial and error process for six months in 1998 to 1999 to determine what she was allergic to. It started when she was a year and a half and we introduced her to real foods. She was totally out of control and I felt that there was something wrong with this child. The docters laughed at us, but a pharmacist took us seriously and helped us for 6 months to find out what she was allergic to. We first thought it was an ingredient in the medicines she was taking. (She had been sick with colds and flu for a period of six months straight) Finally after deleting ever ingredient he figured out it had to be the red dye. We completely illiminated red dye from her food and drink.The change in her was amazing. I literally had people walking up to us and saying, "Whatevery you are doing new at home, keep doing because she is a different kid." All of the reactions dissappeared.
She is 9 today so we have been doing this for 7 years and she is pretty healthy now. She also is real careful what she eats and won't eat anything red, purple or orange unless I say that it is all natural. She doesn't like the way it makes her feel. She went though a period of time around 5 years old when she had to test it and thought that nothing would happen when she ate it. She got blisters and that was a sure cure that she believes it now.

The reaction to ingesting red dye is that her heart rate increases and it is like her body has this sick feeling and is constantly moving or jittery, she becomes completely, completely out of control, cannot calm down, and has trouble sleeping and sitting still. Like her skin is crawling feeling. During this time she usually gets sick because her immunity is low due to her not being able to sleep at night. Another thing she did was chew on everything, like she had this aggression inside her she couldn't get out. Then within two days of ingesting red dye she has another allergic reaction of a cluster of multiple pimples that appear on one heal of her foot, those turn into big blisters which takes at least a week or more to get rid of by draining them repeatedly. An allergist said it was a form of dermititis. All I know is that it is really gross and painful. Her whole foot is red and swollen and she cannot wear shoes. To me it seems that is where the red dye drains out of her, but that is just a thought, there is not proof of that.

We watch everything she eats or drinks. I check the labels on everything. It will say in the list of ingredients and will look something like: Red #40, F&D Red #43 She cannot have any red dye number, or any red dye period that is not all natural. Basically anything that has any red coloring in it, check it to see if it has red dye, there is a possibility that it is all natural and the manufacturers used carmine coloring or natural beet juice which is safe for her to eat! Watch also any color that is made up of red dye such as orange or purple and some of the purple-blues. We avoid those too. Please check all colors just to be sure. If you are not sure on the red then I don't give it to her. I also have read recently that the red dye may not be listed on the ingredients. The FDA only has to list one color which is totally ridiculous to anyone who has allergies. Who makes up these rules.

KOOL-AID: Bad red dye user! No red, pink, purple or orange some blues check the label, very few flavors. she can have. We just stay away from these.
POP: Nothing that is red, orange or purple in color. Check the Rootbeers also some have red dye.
Note: that I have found pop at a organic health food store that is red but its all natural. A couple of the Brand names are: Blue Sky Organic Soda and RWKnudsen Spritzer Soda. This is the only place I have ever seen them at.
RED APPLES: Some have red dye shot in them to make the skins redder
FROSTING: No colored ones, red, pink, purple or orange, even some creams and whites have red dye in them. che check labels.
FRUIT ROLL UPS : No red, pink, purple or orange.
SUCKERS: No red, pink, purple or orange and watch suckers with centers like gum which usually are red or caramel centers which have red in it, the label will say..
Note that I have found some red suckers that are all natural at a Organic Healthfood store. They are called Rhino Pops.
CHOCOLATE: such as puddings Some of the really dark ones have red dye most are okay.
YOGURTS: Look for all natural coloring which is in some of them or no coloring.
HOTDOGS: Watch out for those with really red skins they have dye in them.
ORANGE JUICES: The natural ones are fine but some of the commercial ones are not.
TOMATO SAUCES: Some of the redder cheaper brands
GUM! There are bubble gums that are yellow or blue just hard to find sometimes.

Basically anything that has obviously has any red coloring in it, check it to see if it has red dye, there is a possibility that it is all natural and the manufacturers used carmine coloring, natural beet juice or fruit juices, which are safe! Watch also any color that is made up of red dye such as orange or purple. We avoid those too. Even some blues that are really dark blue or blue purple have red in them. I check everything she eats just to be sure.

Here are some GOOD BRAND NAMES that usually are safe and ALL NATURAL (PLEASE check the labels still though):
CAPRI SUN: any of the Juice Coolers, drink mixes and fruit snacks are dye free! YEA FOR CAPRISUN!
YOPLAIT ďORIGINALĒ YOGURT: This kind only have no dyes in it.
Note: There are different yoplaits so check labels. This one has the red tops.
I called this one and they said it didn't have red in this perticular kind.

All Natural no Color FRUIT SNACKS found some at Target and Organic Healthfood stores.
BLUE BUNNY: Ice-cream, juice popsicles etc.
RHINO POPS: Dye free suckers. Organic Healthfood stores.
DYE FREE POP: Blue Sky Organic Soda & RW Knudsen Spritzer Soda
Organic Healthfood stores

MOTRIN JUNIORS: have no dye and are small white caplets
BENEDRYL CLEAR: is great it has no color either!!!!
TRIAMINIC CHEST CONGESTION: : there isnít very many cough syrups she can have, this is one only cause itís the yellow one.
CHILDRENíS MOTRIN COLD: this is the only nasal decongestant that is Dye-free. It seems to work good.
Diabetic Tussin: dye-free, cough syrup, cough suppression, expectorant
NOTE: Diabetic foods and candies watch the ingredients a little better so check that isle for foods/ medicines they can have.

At the beginning of the school year I send a letter stating the above and go down and talk directly to her teachers and lunch people. They have been really helpful and they read the labels to see if there is anything she cannot have and they tell her what that is. If they can switch to another brand they do. Her teachers have been great on watching. She is really good too because she doesn't like how it makes her feel.

If she goes to a birthday party or other event I usually take a cupcake and a drink along for her and explain to the parents about her dye allergy. Then she isn't left out. So many times there are all red stuff. Especially for girls. Valentines day is soooooooooooo hard with all the red stuff.

If you have any comments or suggestions or questions please feel free to contact me.

Last edited by ^Sunshine^; 10-15-2005 at 09:25 PM.

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Old 10-16-2005, 05:36 AM   #2
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Re: Red Dye Allergy

Very informative post! Thanks for taking the time and effort to inform others about what you have learned about red dye, and then documenting your findings so completely.

Is your daughter just reactive to red dyes? In your research, has anyone grown out of this type of sensitivity?

My sensitivities have grown worse, over the years, so I have had to avoid many more items that I had thought were previously safe for me. The good news is that by avoiding these items, my allergy and heart problems have greatly improved.

Once again, nice post!

Last edited by Machaon; 04-06-2007 at 06:37 AM.

Old 10-16-2005, 09:44 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3
^Sunshine^ HB User
Re: Red Dye Allergy

My daughter does not seem to be allergic to any other color. I did a quick test on yellow dye but it didn't seem to do anything with her. She seemed normal. I had not thought about the skin contact with red dye and I thank you for that information.
I had not thought about it getting into her system through her skin which is the biggest organ. The people I have met that are older with a red dye allergy have had it all thier life and have not out grown it. I'm glad my information helped you. When I was trying to figure out what was going on with my daughter I couldn't find anything on this. I have just did my research as we went along by trial and error.

Old 10-16-2005, 09:47 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2005
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^Sunshine^ HB User
Re: Red Dye Allergy

My daughter does not seem to be allergic to any other color. I did a quick test by elimating yellow dye but it didn't seem to do anything with her. She seemed normal. I had not thought about it getting into her system through her skin which is the biggest organ so thanks for that information. The people I have met that are older with a red dye allergy have had it all thier life and have not out grown it. I'm glad my information helped you. When I was trying to figure out what was going on with my daughter I couldn't find anything on this. I did my research as we went along by trial and error.

Old 10-30-2005, 11:22 AM   #5
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ltibbs HB User
Re: Red Dye Allergy

I have twin boys age seven that has the same problem with the red dye. Your post was very informative and helped me tremendously with the suggestions on the cold medicines. Does your child suffer from chronic hives? One of my boys is dealing with that issue as well. He was put on a combination of zyrtec and Zantac. Since starting the Zantac, we have noticed the out of control bevior again. The ingredients for Zantac list "Synthetic red iron". I assumed because it said "synthetic" that it was ok. I am second guessing that decision. Are you familiar with this term?

Old 10-30-2005, 02:53 PM   #6
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sneezydiva HB User
Re: Red Dye Allergy

Wow, thanks for an informative and interesting post. You might want to post this info on the ADHD board. The list of your daughters symptoms sound a lot like ADHD. I wonder how many poor children diagnosed with ADHD really have a food or dye allergy?

Old 11-01-2005, 03:26 AM   #7
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ZRulz HB User
Re: Red Dye Allergy Infomation

Fantastic post! Awesome detective work!! Keep going. You are better informed than many physicians. I have started researching GLUTEN-FREE foods and diets for autistic children. People simply have no clue what the foods they eat or handle actually do to their bodies.

My wife is allergic to cedar. Last Friday afternoon she cleaned a Hamster cage in a classroom that she is substituting in while the teacher is on maternity leave. By that evening, she was in terrible shape and today she cannot fuunction - she may have a severe sinus infection. I'll have to get her to see the doc A.S.A.P.

Old 11-01-2005, 10:17 AM   #8
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Murphy HB User
Cool Re: Red Dye Allergy

Regarding Red Dye: Synthetic red iron is not same as red 40. It is Iron-Oxide
& is used mostly in pharmacy rx's. However, don't assume all Rx's are that. I
think it's terrible that FDA hasn't jumped in & slapped their hands & said ALL
that contain red should be I.D.'ed. I took Ambien 5mg for sleep & didn't! Yes
it was pale pink & I thought it was Iron Oxide. Even my name in their system
is flagged not to fill before pink, red, etc. is ck'd. It was red 40. I was told it was my fault that I didn't look at color before taking hm. I argued & Dr. called
in 10mg `white' to be cut. Another is Premarin .625, all red-gel capsules,
an anti-fungal `Diflucan' & some BP meds. FDA said that info is to be on bottle from (company) but upon request, U must be given a hand out that
describes med & colorant. If not avail., then it's still up to us to ask someone
their to research color on the system link they have. If they R busy & U see
it's salmon-color perhaps, they can't stop everything to ck. so U leave rx &
ck. next day. If Rx is called in, always save the time & ask `what color is it'?
Safe colors are: Iron Oxide, Carmeen & Annatto. This has been a problem for
years. I've found info on `suspect of red dye' reaction from hand outs dating
back 25 years. Co's don't care. I called the co. that made my new BP med &
told them that hand out didn't comply w/ FDA & pharmacy didn't have a submission to link. 1 hr. long distance & 5 days later, they called saying it was Carmeen. They lied, it was Oxide & yellow. If rx leaves the bldg, it's now
yours. They can't take back due to a tampering law. FDA has a site so jump
in & go complain. People have died from this. We should be able to rely on
our pharmacies.

Old 11-22-2006, 05:33 PM   #9
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1
klynnsmom23 HB User
Lightbulb Re: Red Dye Allergy

For anyone else who is dealing with the red dye allergy problem I have found another brand of meds that are safe.. All the Little Tummies brand of cold meds are Dye Free!... At least we have a few options!

Old 04-06-2007, 06:18 AM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2007
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allboyznogirlz HB User
Thumbs up Re: Red Dye Allergy

hello I'm new here and I was just looking up on the internet about red dye and it's effects to children and I found this mess. board, and I'm glad I did I thought the doctors was crazy when they told me that my son was having a reaction to red dye, Isaid WHAT how can you have an reaction to red dye and they broke it down to me, but not like you guys did in this post, thank you now I know and understand and I see that my son it's the only one who has this allergy. My son is two years old and we've been having this problem since he was born but it wasn't the red dye whaen he was born it was the milk when I stop breast feeding him at the age of 6 mos. I started him on similac w/ iron and the first week he he had it his diaper looked like a menstal period it was full of blood I lost my mind when we got to the hospital they did all kinds of test and they found out that the base that the similac is made out of my son is alegic to it and it caused a bad infection inside of his intestance. He had to have segery and they had to reconstruct his small intestance. All of this is when he was 6 mos. old now that he is two he kept getting a bad cold and he couldn't hold nothing down on his stomach he threw up for like a week straight I took him to the doctor and they told me that it was just a stomach virus and it should be gone in a few days well let's try 6 weeks and he's still sick, at home before we went back to the hospital he was drinking pediasure strawberry and pedia lyte orange and grape and he was just not getting better so we back to the hospital and my baby was totally out of it he was like a veggi. he would not move or talk or play my baby was so sick and after two long weeks ain the hospital they finnally told me that my baby is shaving reactions to red dye. This just happened, yesterday was our first day home from the hospital and my baby is doing so good he's playing and he's back to eating and drinking BUT NOT RED DYE and he's also back to getting on my nerves which I miss. and I'm glad I found this web site and mess. board it really helps and some of you guys give more info than the doctors! Thank you

Old 04-13-2007, 11:02 PM   #11
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: VA
Posts: 2
thejestir HB User
Lightbulb Re: Red Dye Allergy

I didn't find out I was allergic to red dye until I was 21 (I'm 23 now). I finally figured it was red 40 when I got a tattoo on my leg/foot. The areas where the needle went a little too deep with the red dye started to push the dye out and blister up. I talked to the tattoo guy and he said that it is rare (about 1 in 250,000 people) which is the most information I have ever got from someone (even doctors) on the subject. The allergist near me doesn't even test for it. So that is probably why not much attention is paid to it. Looking back at some other allergic reactions earlier in life, it makes a lot of sense. The first was oral penicillin, which caused my gums to blister. It may have also been a penicillin allergy but doctors say it isn't safe to test for it now if it is a possibility. Another was regular Sudafed (a red tablet) which caused a rash on my chest and face. Then several different painkillers (for herniated disk in lower back) caused a slight rash and lots of intestinal distress. So far, I know am allergic to red 40 and nickel (another weird one).

Now I usually don't get a full rash - just a lot of itching, unless I intake a lot. I mostly get it with foods and drinks. Ones I didn't realize were fruit punch Gatorade, some BBQ/spaghetti sauces, and many yellowish foods have red 40.

Like mentioned in another post - don't assume the pharmacy checks for red 40 in all your meds even if you have it noted in your file. A lot of times it isn't listed as a possible allergy in meds. Always specifically ask if it's got red dye when you pick something up.

Also, some have said that their younger children have emotional/temper changes when they ingest it. I would say that I might even have the same reaction sometimes - to a lesser degree though.

Overall - if you suspect an allergy to red 40, make sure you check ever thing you can because it can be a real pain to deal with.

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