Jackie's Allergy to Soybean Milk

Hear about Jackie's symptoms and how he has dealt with his allergy in different places.


2/27/20241 min read

Jackie Li, Wuhan, China, UC Berkeley

Q: How and when did you find out you had an allergy?

A: “When I was in middle school, my parents got obsessed with homemade soybean milk and prepared it for every breakfast. After several days, I started to get red, itchy rashes all over my shoulder and back. We went to the hospital and found out I’m allergic to soybean milk from which tofu is made.

Q: What’s the biggest allergic reaction you’ve had?

A: “I got red rashes all over my shoulder and back, which was really itchy. The acne scars still remain today, making me very reluctant to show my shoulder in public. But now I’m trying Adapalene treatment and laser skin therapy, which fades the scar a little bit.”

Q: How has your allergy shaped who you are today?

A: “I was suggested by the doctor to avoid soybean products, but a small amount of those won’t cause very severe reactions. But I do carry the Diphenhydramine with me while traveling. Actually, this winter break, when I was in Guatemala, I got red ashes on my shoulder and arms again because of some careless soybean intake, and the Diphenhydramine helped me recover to normal quickly.”

Q: How has your allergy affected your daily life (what precautions do you take)?

A: “I do sometimes feel very embarrassed when I go out for Chinese food with friends. We Chinese have lots of dishes made with Tofu, like Mapo Tofu. I have to tell my friends frequently that I don’t eat soybean products. But I’m fine with not being able to eat tofu because I’m not very attracted to the flavor and texture of this kind of food.”