Children are sometimes allergic to some foods, food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods which it consider harmful. Most times, allergic reactions are mild but sometimes they can be fatal.
Having food allergy is an inherited predisposition, if you have a family history of allergies (food, asthma, hay fever) your child is more likely to develop a food allergy. Children with two allergic parents are especially at a high risk of developing an allergy compared to a child with non-allergic parents.
Most children usually grow out of allergies as they grow up. The first time a certain food is eaten e.g nuts or crabs the body does not react, but once the food is eaten again the body reacts by producing a range of symptoms to deal with the allergen.
Although food intolerance can have the same symptoms as food allergies, do not confuse them together as food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system.
The symptoms usually develop some minutes or two hours after eating or touching the allergen food.
- Rashes, hives, eczema or red skin
- Itchy or swollen lips, mouth, tongue or throat
- A runny or blocked nose
- Red, itchy eyes
- Diarrhoea, blood in stools, abdominal cramps and bloating (especially in infants and young children when allergic to milk and soy)
In an anaphylactic reaction, the whole body reacts to an allergen. A combination of the symptoms above with more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a loss of consciousness are present. Seek medical help when you notice the symptoms of anaphylactic reaction
Foods that can cause food allergies include;
Any food can cause food reaction, and your child might not even react to any of the foods below but to other foods, but most of the food allergies are cause by these 8 foods;
- Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans)
- Sea foods (fish and shellfish).
Most tines, children outgrow their allergies for foods like milk, eggs and soy but rarely do they outgrow their allergy for peanut, fish and sea foods.
Identify the foods your child is allergic to and do not give them those foods as allergies can be sometimes life-threatening.
Treatment of a food allergy
There’s no cure for food allergy, recognizing the food that causes it and avoiding such food is the only way.
Here are some tips;
- Check the food ingredients on the label of any product before buying it
- be careful not to use any of the possible allergens in cooking food (cooking crayfish when your child is allergic to sea food.)
- When eating out, tell the staff about your child’s food allergy and ask them for the menu.