A few weeks ago I developed burning red spots like tiny bee-stings all over my face, also my mouth and tongue are burning so much it is hard to eat, my tongue feels a bit swollen and even my ears feel a bit the same. People who don't know me just think that I have red cheeks, but I don't normally have red cheeks, and the burning sensation is really painful. I also feel like I have a bit of asthma (I never had asthma as a child). The only time I've had anything similar was when I tried a bite of my boyfriend's crab in an expensive restaurant and straight away my lips started swelling and tingling. I went to a doctor but she just said it was a bit odd and prescribed an antihistamine. The pharmacist said the prescribed antihistamine was old fashioned and recommended a different antihistamine and said I should carry it with me at all times.

I read the Ribo Rash factsheet on your website and thought about everything I've eaten - for each of the last two weeks I've bought a cooked chicken from the supermarket, eaten over several days. I've eaten these before, but it turns out they are now adding seasoning with "yeast extract, natural flavours". I complained about that and they just said it's not them doing it, it's the suppliers. A few days ago I had a meal of tinned salmon and plain rice - I've eaten hundreds of cans of the same product for years with no problems - and the burning seemed to get worse. Now I'm scared that I may have developed an allergy to seafood. I'm 44 years old and before this happened I was perfectly healthy. Now I'm scared to eat anything in case I get worse. - Liz, NZ

(Comment from Sue Dengate: we have previously remarked about the way ribonucleotide flavour enhancers seem to bridge the gap between allergies and intolerances. We have recently received similar reports of reactions to products with an ingredient listing "yeast extract, natural flavours" and wonder whether manufacturers are now hiding ribonucleotide flavour enhancers 627, 631 and 635 under these descriptions. Also there have been reports from consumers who have developed true allergies after being exposed to these flavour enhancers. Ribonucleotides are known to stimulate the immune system - it's good to a certain point which is why they are added to infant formula in small amounts. However, this is a possible mechanism for the development of true allergies - which are basically an overstimulated an immune system - and could account for the rise in allergies in Western societies. Had a similar experience? email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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