Children and Food Allergy Facts

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Update Date 12/05/2020 . 2 mins read
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What is a food allergy?

A food allergy happens when the body treats a particular food as a harmful agent by signaling the immune system to produce antibodies to fight back. Any form of contact (including touching, eating, or inhaling its particles) with the food will trigger the release of certain chemicals, one of which is histamine which the body uses to defend itself. This act results in allergic symptoms affecting the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.

How to know if my child has a food allergy?

Common symptoms of an immediate food allergy include:

−Flushing
−Hives
−Red and itchy rashes
−Swollen lips, eyes, and face
−Runny nose or blocked nose, sneezing, watery eyes
−Nausea, throwing up, abdominal pain, diarrhea
−Itching in the mouth or throat

If the allergy is severe, anaphylaxis may occur. Seek medical help immediately if your child experiences:

−Wheezing
−Tight chest
−Swollen tongue and throat
−Restricted airways
−Low blood pressure followed by shock
−Dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness

In some cases, food allergies may be hard to detect since they appear too subtle. These are referred to as delayed allergies which are often troublesome during infancy. Unlike immediate food allergies which involve the release of histamine, delayed food allergies are related to certain parts of the immune system which take much longer to response to an allergen. The late response makes it difficult to tell which food is the trigger, resulting in parents feeding the baby the allergen again and again. Delayed food allergies may lead to many health conditions such as eczema, reflux, colic, poor growth, diarrhea, and constipation. These conditions only improved if the allergen is taken from the baby’s diet. Most common triggers are milk, soy, egg, and wheat.

Food allergy vs. food intolerance

Often times, people mistake these two conditions. Food intolerance causes similar symptoms but it does not involve the immune system nor is there the release of histamine. Food intolerance can be understood as the inability of the digestive system to process certain foods. This condition can be annoying but it is not dangerous.

What to do if my child has a food allergy?

It’s easy to detect immediate food allergies due to the fast response. If you suspect a food allergy, do not let your baby come into contact with that food until you have taken them to a doctor. If you think your child’s health conditions (diarrhea or reflux, for example) are caused by a delayed food allergy, keep a diary of your child’s diets or your diet if your child is breastfed to see if the symptoms can be linked to any food. This food diary will also be helpful when you take your child to a doctor.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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