Susan Smith

I am allergic to PEG. It seems to be in everything, and I am feeling worse and worse. How do people eat?!

  • Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry you’re feeling so bad! What kind of reaction do you have?
    I haven’t seen PEG in so many foods – mostly in medicines and body care products, but I’ve seen PG used to keep foods from freezing. It’s really good you’re looking closely at the labels, because you’re right – glycols are in a growing number of things.
    What foods are you finding PEG in? I’d be curious to know.

    • Tim Cloonan

      Hip arthroplasty in next few months. One of the components is a Polyethylene cup. Have Glycol sensitivity. Is it possible to get tested for PE reaction before hand by Derm, Allergist or Immunologist before surgery. Retired physician out of the game for 13 years

    • Hi Tim and welcome.

      I had both knees replaced recently and had no adverse reaction to the prosthetic and I know that it had polyethylene components. I am allergic to glycols, though and polyethylene on its own does not affect me. Your situation may be different. There are others here who have had some testing, but with varying levels of success.

      You might try talking to the manufacturer and seeing if they can send you a small sample of the material that you could tape to the inside of your wrist to see if you react. If tape is a problem, you could try coban wrap. This is assuming that your reaction to glycols is fairly mild and not life threatening. If you are supposed to be carrying an Epi-Pen, then your allergy doc should be consulted before you try anything.

      The readers here have a variety of sensitivities to glycols ranging from mild dermatitis to full blown anaphyllaxis. Some are only sensitive to PEG, others only to PG, and many have multiple sensitivities, so among the bunch, you are likely to find someone who has a similar issue, but it’s impossible to generalize. And we are not medical professionals, just other people with our own personal experiences to share.

      If I had had medical professionals in my life that could have given me advice when I started this, I certainly would have taken it and I hope someday that there will be no need for this blog!

      There are several posts and pages on this blog that might be useful as you navigate surgery with a glycol sensitivity. Below is a link to one on how I survived two knee replacement surgeries without so much as a rash.
      Feel free to look around, ask questions and share your experiences.

      Keep us posted on what you find out and how your surgery goes. I rarely even remember that I’ve had knee surgery now, because it’s so easy to walk. I hope it’s the same for you.


      How I Survived Major Surgery With a Glycol Allergy


    • Becky gibson

      Hi. I have a PEG allergy and would like to have the opportunity to communicate with other suffers. I have never seen PEG on any food labels 🤔 but told it’s in cola and skittles 🤔🤔 any help would be great


  • James McWilliams

    I am allergic to propylene glycol. Originally I was diagnosed by a dermatologist 24 years ago after developing weeping rash to my skin following topical medication. I thought I had the problem solved through meticulous label shopping but in recent years it has started being used in foods. I’ve never had a reaction after eating a home-cooked meal but when I eat in institutional settings, ie. restaurants, caterers, etc. I have had major anaphylactic reactions, including hospitalization in full respiratory arrest. I’ve been hospitalized at least 5 times in the last 3 years. My reactions always follow the same progression. A few hours after eating I develop an intense abdominal pain that lasts only 15-30 minutes. This is followed with rapid evolution of generalized hives, lip, mouth, and airway swelling. I am a medical professional and always travel with a bag of injectible Benadryl, steroids, and epinephrine. I would not be alive today if I didn’t have these. I’ve never taken polyethylene glycol (miralax) because of the chemical similarity I’ve been afraid to.