View Full Version : Strange Cheese Allergy

05-08-2000, 08:49 PM
Since my former thread about bodily fluids went nowhere, and the plutocratic apologists on the "Fair Wage" thread make me too angry to formulate a coherant reply, I just want to ask a simple question.

A very close dear friend of mine who sleeps in the same bed as I and whom I shave every morning has a strange allergy to parmesean cheese. It seems every time this person (let's call him "me") eats parmesean cheese, he gets a splitting headache. He discovered this strange food allergy while working in an italian restaurant refilling the parmesean dispensers. He can smell parmesean cheese from three tables away, and whenever he handles said dairy products, he breaks out in a rash. The strange part is that no other cheese has this effect, not even cheeses that are similar to parmesean like oseago.

So what's the Dope, Dopers? Is "Me" crazy, or is there some biological basis for this? "Me" is perfectly willing to accept the fact that it could be psychosomatic.

--Confused allergic socialist in Memphis

Patty O'Furniture
05-08-2000, 09:33 PM
How can you believe such nonsense? It's quite clear that you were attacked by a wild ferret of the parmesean variety when you were a child and are now suffering the from the repercussions.

Fow what it's worth, my temples itch when I eat parmesean. It's not bad enough that I've ever thought about going to get checked out.

Manual sig line #33

05-08-2000, 10:26 PM
When discussing "allergic" reactions it is helpful to have a clear and complete description of the symptoms. For example, it is useful to know if a rash itches or not. When a headache occurs, it is useful to know if it is accompanied by facial flushing. It is common for people to self-medicate before seeking medical advice (e.g., take over-the-counter antihistamines before exposure). In such cases, it is helpful to know the results of such experiments.

The histamine in Parmesan cheese can very rarely cause facial flushing with headache (not an allergic reaction but a reaction to toxic levels of histamine) but an itchy skin rash suggests a real hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction.

05-09-2000, 06:02 AM
Parmesan, and some other types of cheese, are common triggers of migraine headaches, because they contain a chemical called tyramine. The longer the cheese is aged, the more tyramine it will contain. Most cheese is ripened a few months at most. Parmesan is aged l4 months or more. See Mayo Dietician (http://mayohealth.org/mayo/askdiet/htm/new/qd990825.htm)

05-09-2000, 10:33 AM
Yeah and bibliphage are on the right track. Go see an allergist about this. You are not crazy. A good allergist will be able to tell you what to do to avoid a reaction and the best way to treat it when you are accidentally exposed.

In the meantime, you might like to read some works by Dr. Doris Rapp. She is wonderful in helping people identify the not-so-normal abnormal food reactions. She calls headaches and slurred speach type reactions a brain allergy. It controversial, but still it's nice to know that at least one person that went to medical school and runs a clinic does not think you are crazy. :) I'm reading "Is This Your Child?" right now. It seems like every chapter so far I've said, "Oh! That was just like me!" or "Geez! That's exactly like my kid!". We're talking real symptoms that drs. either performed surgeries for, put us on antibiotics for, or said there was nothing they could do for. Cool book for a frustrated person. Dr. Rapp's website is http://drrapp.com

05-09-2000, 06:21 PM
That's ya'll. Now I have evidence to fight back with when my friends at the dinner table say "Oh, you're not allergic! You just don't like the stuff."

I've never had a migraine. Does this mean I'm susceptable?

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