How Do I Know If My Child Has a Food Allergy?

Food allergies are among the most common chronic childhood diseases. Unfortunately, many symptoms and illnesses are often confused with food allergies. Would you as a caregiver like to know how to recognize and treat the symptoms? Well that's what we're here for. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about food allergies.

A food allergy happens when the body reacts against harmless proteins found in foods. The reaction usually happens shortly after a food is eaten. Some of the symptoms of a food allergy include:

Skin Problems

  • Hives (red spots that look like mosquito bites)
  • Itchy skin rashes (eczema, also called atopic dermatitis)
  • Swelling

Stomach Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

Mouth

  • Itching and tingling in mouth and throat

Breathing Problems

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing, constriction of airways
  • Throat tightness, feeling of lump in throat


Circulation Symptoms

  • Pale skin
  • Light-headedness
  • Shock and Loss of consciousness

Reactions can vary from mild to severe to life-threatening. Breathing and circulation problems require immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you see these symptoms.

If your child has any of the milder symptoms such as mouth itching for the first time, it is important to see your pediatrician, ideally while the symptoms are still present. Your pediatrician can recommend testing (such as skin testing) and treatment (such as medication) depending on the severity of the reaction, and help you create a plan for avoiding and minimizing reactions, such as eliminating that food.

Food can cause many illnesses that are sometimes confused with food allergies. The following are not food allergies:

  • Food poisoning
  • Drug effects
  • Skin irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Food intolerance (food sensitivity)
  • Food additives (chemicals added to foods, such as dyes or preservatives)--rare

Any food could cause a food allergy, but many are often outgrown during early childhood. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of egg, milk, wheat, and soy allergies go away by the age of 5. One in five young children will outgrow a peanut allergy and fewer will outgrow allergies to nuts or seafood. Your pediatrician or allergist can perform tests to track your child's food allergies and watch to see if they are going away.


Here are the links to find more detailed information:

http://www.healthychildren.org/english/healthy-living/nutrition/pages/Food-Allergies-in-Children.aspx

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095



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Monday, 18 November 2019

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