Does Your Child Have Food Allergies?
A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system adversely reacts to a specific food. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nearly 6% of children in the United States under the age of 3 years suffer from some form of food allergy. Reactions are typically mild, but in some cases, the reaction may be severe or life-threatening. It is therefore important that parents educate themselves about these allergies
What Are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?
The symptoms of food allergies may include wheezing and breathing difficulties, hives, vomiting and diarrhea, skin rashes, stomach cramps, or swelling around the mouth or throat. The symptoms typically develop a short time after the food has been consumed. These symptoms may be fairly mild or quite severe, depending on how much of the food your child consumed and how allergic he is to the food. If he has difficulty breathing or has swelling around his throat, seek medical attention immediately.
What Foods Cause Allergies?
A child may be allergic to any food, but there are certain foods that account for the majority of allergic reactions in children. These foods include milk and other dairy products, eggs, peanuts and peanut butter, tree nuts, fish, shrimp and other shellfish, soy products and wheat products. As children mature, they tend to outgrow many food allergies, especially dairy-related ones. Allergic reactions to tree nuts and shellfish often continue for life, however.
How Can I Prevent My Child from Having an Attack?
The only real way to avoid an allergic reaction to a food is to avoid it. While this might sound simple, it can actually be somewhat difficult. If your toddler is allergic to milk, he must not only avoid milk, but also milk-based products like cheese, ice cream and instant mashed potatoes, for example. You should read all food labels to make sure the allergy-causing food is not present. You also need to inform your child’s babysitter or teacher that he has a food allergy. If you are concerned about him being exposed to foods containing the allergen at lunch or snack time, you might want to pack a lunch and snack for him each day.