Common Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy in Kids and How to prevent.

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Many food items give rise to specific reactions or allergies out of which most of the parents have only heard of peanuts, and it’s based on the fact that the number of toddlers allergic to peanuts has tripled in the last 10-15 years. Yet, it’s crucial to keep the other allergens (allergy-causing substances) in mind. New research shows that introducing the allergens early to the kids reduces the chances of them even developing the allergy.

So, as a child nutritionist, I would recommend introducing the following allergens one at a time to your babies as soon as they start solids.

● Wheat ● Tree nuts ● Shellfish like prawns, lobsters, etc. ● Fish ● Peanuts ● Milk (particularly cow’s) ● Soy ● Egg ● Sesame

Note: Besides these, other uncommon food items include pine nuts, some fruits/vegetables, some forms of meat, mustard, gluten, etc. While kids can outgrow the allergens wheat, egg, soy, and milk by the time they reach the age of three, allergies due to the dry fruits, peanuts, shellfish, and fish may stay for a longer period, sometimes lifelong. Hence, it is vital for you to be fully aware and prepared in case your little ones are allergic to any of these. But how?

This article will enlighten you about everything regarding food allergies like:

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy (or food hypersensitivity) is an unfamiliar reaction of the immune system to a food product (the usual ones are listed above), which can range from mild to severe, sometimes even deadly, called Anaphylaxis.

It’s also to be noted that food allergy and food intolerance aren’t the same. While a food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system, food allergy is all about how one’s immune system responds to the prohibited food item(s). In simple words, food intolerance refers to a digestive problem that arises due to the consumption of a certain food product. Hence, it’s symptoms are also different from that of a food allergy.

What are its Causes?

So far, a specific cause of food allergies is still unknown; however, it arises when your immune system views particular proteins in a food item as a threat to the body owing to which it releases particular chemicals igniting a reaction. In other words, the immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that releases the chemical histamine. This chemical causes reactions in your body.

In most of the allergies, histamine is released at particular locations like skin, throat, and mouth. This is the reason most food allergies occur in these areas of your body. In Anaphylaxis, histamine is released in larger amounts and in more locations, that’s why it’s more serious.

What are the Common Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy?

The following are the most visible signs and symptoms of food allergies in the kids that begin within minutes of consuming any of the allergen(s).

● Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis,

● Reactions like hives, swelling, itching, and flushing on the skin,

● Redness and swelling in the eyes,

● Bulging lips, mouth, and tongue,

● Difficulty in breathing, rapid inhalation,

● Vomiting and abdominal pain, mild to severe,

● Loss of consciousness, fading appearance, dizziness, lightheadedness, increased heart rate, This is the set of common symptoms that signifies your child is allergic to some food proteins.

How can a Food Allergy be treated?

There isn’t a proper medication or treatment for food allergies. If in case, your child shows any of the above or other symptoms, you should visit a doctor (if the situation worsens further). The doctor will gather some information about the signs, and depending upon their severity; you may be suggested to consult an allergist. The allergist will do certain tests and recommend to you what the primary allergen is so that you can ensure that your kid’s meals don’t contain the allergen or anything of its kind. Also, as parents, it’s your responsibility to refrain from buying food products containing anything your lad is allergic to.

Additionally, the doctor/allergist may suggest the following injections/treatments for nullifying symptoms of allergies.

● Antihistamines like diphenhydramine and cetirizine for itching, etc.

● Acupuncture point injection for hives.

● Albuterol for symptoms related to respiration like difficulty in breathing, rapid inhalation, etc. ● Epinephrine is suggested for signs like wheezing and coughing.

Please note that these medications must be taken only after consulting a doctor or allergist as kids would only require a light dosage of the above.

The following are two tips to ensure that your child doesn’t consume anything not suitable for him.

●Don’t assume any food to be free from the allergen. Always glance through its ingredients list to know what all is present in it before buying.

●Whether you’re at a party or with friends out for dinner, make sure your kid doesn’t eat up anything presented to him. If there’s any doubt regarding what it contains, it’s better to leave it. Research says that food allergies are common these days. So, there’s no need to get scared of them as there are ways to prevent the onset of any food allergy in your kid.

●Slowly introduce one allergen (in small doses) at a time to identify which allergen is causing a reaction. You can also add allergens to their usual meals.

●If there’s no reaction, you can even gradually increase the amount of the allergen until any reaction occurs. ●Continue adding the allergen to their normal diet to make their body tolerant to it.

You can even use the allergy-causing potential of any food item by rubbing it on their lips. If nothing occurs, you can feed it to your kid.

Also Read:

Healthy Foods to Improve your Baby’s Weight

10 Key Foods to Make your Baby Smarter & Sharper

Milk Mantra: Which is better for your Baby- Cow Milk or Buffalo Milk?

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