Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How do I know if my child has a food allergy?

Allergies are among the most common chronic childhood diseases.  Allergies affect about 50 million children! Oh my! Unfortunately, many symptoms and illnesses are often confused with food allergies. So don’t you as a caregiver want to know the symptoms of food allergies and 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. Reactions can vary from mild to severe to life-threatening. This type requires immediate medical attention. 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
  • Breathing problems
    • Sneezing
    • Wheezing
    • Throat tightness
  • Stomach symptoms
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • Circulation symptoms
    • Pale skin
    • Light-headedness
    • Loss of consciousness
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 there’s GOOD NEWS! Food allergies 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.

Please share how you’ve been able to treat the symptoms of food allergies in children!

Here are the links to find further information: http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/asthma.cfm

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