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Reader Beware
You're in for a scare~
Sneezy, Itchy Seizures
Allergies. I've quite a few. I think everyone has an allergy to something. But, how is an allergy defined? Something that you have an adverse reaction to? Something that makes you sick? Something that could potentially kill you? Well, then I'm allergic to life. :D And myself.

There are four that fill the primary role of an allergy for me. Strawberries, Red food dye, Peppermint, and Menthol. They're actually paired. Red food dye, the ones that I'm allergic to anyhow, come from Strawberries. And menthol is a direct biproduct of Peppermint. So...yeah.

What a tasty fruit. I've liked strawberry flavors for a very long time. I recall way back eating those little strawberry candies around Christmas time. I loved them then and I still do now. But back then, I didn't have the allergy. Or maybe I did, but it didn't manifest until a bit later. Or even then, the candies weren't in high enough concentration to cause an issue. A feeling of, say, a head rush as a kid would only tell a parent, "No more sugar for him." A showing of dizziness could be explained away as running around too much and eating too much candy. Same with the nausea. Interesting, no?
However, the candies don't actually have strawberries in them, as far as I'm aware. Extract doesn't effect me. The red dye comes directly from the meat of the fruit. Thus, it would take an actual strawberry to bother me. Instead, it's the red dye of the candies that hits me. Strawberries themselves, I prefer them chocolate covered. A dark chocolate covered strawberry heart. I had those a while back in an ice cream. Best damned treat ever. Also the strawberry cheesecake bites by Sara Lee.
...And now I'm hungry.
Hint: Dark Chocolate is a favorite of mine. Not like I'm hinting to anyone, though. I'm just rambling. THAT'S WHAT JOURNALS ARE FOR, I HEAR. xP

Red Dye
This terrible solution can be found in a ton of foods. Next time you go to the store, head down to the drink aisle(s). Try to count how many different drinks are red, orange, or purple. Even some blue colored drinks are hit with a dash of red dye.
Look at canned or jarred fruits and veggies. Some of them have dyes too. Offhand, I believe cherries do.
Red Dye is basically a concentrated form of strawberries. To effect me, I'd have to eat quite a few pounds of strawberries just to feel a minor effect of my allergy. Red dye, however, I can take in, say, 20 oz before I feel something. Or don't feel something as the case might be. :P

You see, Red Dye and strawberries cause a rather specific effect in me. They attack my nervous system. Very large quantities of dye (or a specific type) can cause a seizure. Small amounts, however, just cause nausea, light-headedness, and numbness. Oddly, they can also raise my temperature. Naturally, my internal temperature is 96-97F degrees. And I don't exactly generate heat. I'm typically cold to the touch. I can sleep under several large blankets/comforters during the summer heat all because of my heat issue. I don't really sweat. Strange, I guess, but I'm used to it. I do hate, however, when my body does sweat. But anyway...
Taking even a 20 oz serving of anything with a good concentration of red dye, my core temperature raises about 3 degrees. In addition, I start generating outer heat and even go into a light sweat. Further, I feel a little nauseous and lose some feeling. 1.5 years ago, I used that to my advantage. I was working a job that I couldn't do with how screwed up my hip is. I was feeling a lot of pain, and I couldn't deal with it anymore. And it isn't like painkillers work on me. So, every evening before work, I'd take a "spike" of red dye. I bought a few bottles of red food coloring and manually added it to various red drinks, such as the energy drinks I was taking too. I was not only energetic, but I could do my job without feeling the pain. However, it was a momentary thing. About two weeks of that treatment and I started feeling even more pain than prior and started passing out at random. Yeah. I really know how to take care of myself sometimes. It took a few days to recover. And I kinda felt like chopping my hip off. Yeah...
Now then, I do tend to take in small amounts of red dye intentionally. My Glucosamine Chondroitin drinks contain red dye. It's an 8 oz supplement. And it is a necessary part of my day to day function. Since taking this supplement, I've been having far fewer lockups. It went from happening several times a day to a few times per week. It isn't a cure, however. The best I can find as a cure aside from outright hip replacement is taking an osteosteroid. At least, that's what my mother told me to get.

This little b*tch is a lot of fun. Yeah. Fun. Meant fully sarcastically. Peppermint is, effectively, a much stronger version of red dye. Very small amounts give me headaches, world-tilting dizziness, and severe nausea. Well, they did. For whatever reason, my peppermint allergy is not effecting me at current. Which is good. Favorite ice cream? Mint Chocolate Chip. It's kind of special that, during Christmas, I can't have the traditional candy cane. Not only because it's red dye, but also because it's peppermint.
That's another thing. When both of my allergies meet, it becomes MUCH worse. A single piece of Wrigley's 5ive Cobalt gum made me vomit for 3 hours straight. Chunks of my stomach lining was coming up. 5ive Cobalt is peppermint gum with a dash of red dye (it's blue, but there is a small amount of red in it too).
Typically, since there are so many different names given for only a few types of mint, I veer away from anything that says Mint. Peppermint, Wintermint, Spearmint, Clean Mint, fresh mint...I don't care. If it's a minty flavor, I stay away. Currently, I can have small amounts of peppermint. Again, fine with me. Also, prior to current times, my peppermint allergy would manifest even outside of ingestion. The smell of it would give me a headache and some mild nausea. Made stocking the register lanes of peppermint gum a LOT of fun...

This is the allergy that makes all the prior ones seem like a walk in the park. Menthol comes from Peppermint. It's effectively concentrated peppermint. Furthermore, it's an alcohol. Common sense: Alcohol strengthens effects. I like using a mild tasting alcohol for enhancing the flavors of sauces. Upon cooking it, the alcohol content dissipates, but the enhancement is still present. But yeah, back to the allergy...
I found out about my allergy to Menthol when I was using mouthwash a few years back. See, -years- prior, I tried mouthwash. The taste of it bothered me, and I only used it for a few days. This was also before my peppermint allergy hit me full swing (I did have mint chocolate chip ice cream on my 18th birthday with no effect, after all). Now, when I used the mouthwash in the more recent years, I had a fun reaction. The first day, it just kinda burned. I figured that was natural. The second day, it burned more. Third day, it burned even more. Fourth day, I bled. I spit out the mouthwash and out came a rather healthy (or unhealthy...) amount of blood. It surprised me and I decided to check my mouth. My gums, tongue, and the insides of my cheeks looked like they were sliced open. Kinda like I had swished around razor blades instead of mouthwash. This was a non-mint mouthwash. It was cinnamon flavor, if I recall correctly. Yeah. That sh*t tastes TERRIBLE. But anyway, I stopped using the stuff right then and there. Until a couple months ago, I hadn't used any type again.
Now, I use a mouthwash that is mint, menthol, and red dye free (only because red dye going straight into the blood stream from a possible cut or sore is NOT something I want to deal with). Go to your local store and try to find one like that. Go ahead. Have fun. Mine smells like nail polish remover. And with how terrible it tastes, the flavor is probably about the same, too. Yeah. I love me.

Now, I realize that this is probably a very nice "How To" list for killing me. But hey, there are actually better ways, such as through certain over the counter medications. But, that will be explained at a later date. :D
Oddly, I can pick up on the scents and tastes of the things I'm allergic to, food wise. I know what red dye smells like. I know what it tastes like. Such as, red velvet cake is a chocolate cake with red dye. I do not smell nor taste the chocolate. Only the red dye. Yep. I'm awesome. Or dysfunctional. Probably the latter.

This is all stemmed from a short conversation on the matter a few hours ago. So, I decided to write it all up. Because I totally don't have a better use of my time. Sitting around all day is far more common of me to do lately. I need something to do~

Apologies for the massive wall of text. :D

Tseta C. Aito
Community Member
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