Apr 09, 2011 Posted Under: Allergies

Children and Food Allergies

While many have heard that food allergies in children may be typical, the truth is that these types of allergies are fairly unusual. On average, only 2% of children have a food allergy although younger children may actually have a higher percentage of those affected somewhere around 5%-8% being affected. The good news is that many children affected with food allergies will outgrow them as they get older and their immune systems mature.

A food allergy is a condition of your bodies immune system. The immune system will create an antibody after the child eats a certain food. This antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE) will bind to the food as well as allergy cells and the body will produce chemicals that will them cause allergic reactions. You see this in the form of hives,rashes, itching and even potentially lethal breathing problems.

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The most common of these allergies that are found in children are milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, soy (primarily in infants) and wheat. While most children will typically outgrow their allergy to milk, eggs, soy and wheat, often times they will not outgrow their allergy to peanuts.

Food allergy symptoms will show up quite rapidly after the child has eaten the food he or she is allergic to, usually within a few minutes to an hour of ingestion. Symptoms can vary from individual to individual child, but these symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, hives, swelling, eczema, itching or swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth, itching or tightness of the throat, difficulty in breathing, wheezing and lowered blood pressure. Milk or soy allergies may have additional symptoms such as colic (fussy baby), blood in stool and/or poor growth.

Symptoms may appear to be a typical illness, paying attention to any reactions that occur during or not long after your child eats can be a red flag that your child may be sensitive to foods or even allergic to them. You should consult your child’s physician for a diagnosis of food allergies.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases there is no cure for food type allergies, nor is there a treatment for these allergies. Once you identify foods that your child is allergic to, removing these foods from your child’s diet is the best strategy to avoid allergic reactions. You should also read all labels on prepared foods to make sure that there is nothing in the ingredients that your child may be allergic or sensitive to.

Keeping clean is probably one of the best and most effective strategies that you can employ. Teaching your children to consistently wash their hands with soap and water will help significantly and will remove most peanut allergens. Household cleaning products will also remove most allergens on tables and counter tops.

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