Food allergy is an unusual, often harmful, reaction of the immune system to a certain food. According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), food allergies are more common in urban children than in those living in rural areas. FARE also says that children with food allergies are more likely to get conditions like asthma, hay fever, and eczema.
Food allergy symptoms are usually exhibited through mild rashes and hives, swelling of lips and mucous membranes, asthma, itching in the mouth, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. Anaphylaxis is the most severe symptom of food allergy. It develops soon after exposure to the wrong antigen and might result in a steep drop in blood pressure, airway obstruction, and even death. This is why Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical intervention in terms of injecting epinephrine (adrenaline) to reverse the symptoms. At times food allergy is confused with food intolerance. But they are not the same. Although some of the symptoms might be the same, the latter does not affect the immune system.
Causes of food allergy
It is usually the second time that a child eats a certain food that allergic reactions occur. The foods that most often cause food allergy are –
- Tree nuts like almonds, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, etc
Among the above, eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children. The symptoms of a milk or soy allergy usually resemble symptoms of other food allergies. But at times it can show different symptoms like colic or fussy babies, blood in your child’s stool, and poor growth.
If your child is allergic to milk, the pediatrician is likely to change his/her formula to soy formula or breast milk. If the child is allergic to soy formula as well, the doctor might change his or her food to an easily digested hypoallergenic formula. Fish, peanuts, and tree nuts are known to cause the most serious allergic reactions. Usually, about five percent of children under the age of five years tend to have food allergies. However, they outgrow the allergies as they grow up. That said, some may remain allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish lifelong. It is always better to consult your child’s doctor online for a diagnosis and food recommendations.
There is no treatment for preventing food allergies in children. The only option is to avoid the foods that cause allergies. It is better to see your child’s pediatrician an0d find out the foods your child is allergic to. Once you know the food items it is important to avoid them. You can consider giving vitamins and minerals to your child if he or she is allergic to certain foods. However, it is better to discuss it with your child’s doctor before administering any medication.
If your child had a severe food reaction, the pediatrician may prescribe an emergency kit. This type of kit usually contains epinephrine, which helps to stop the symptoms of severe reactions. If you are in Delhi, talk to the best pediatrician in Delhi NCR for further information.
Allergies could be short-term in children. In such cases, children can tolerate the food when he/she is 3 or 4 years old. This is why pediatricians prescribe certain foods again after three to six months to check if the child has outgrown the allergy. Residents of South Delhi can now consult the best pediatrician in South Delhi online to know more about food allergies in children.
Usually, a baby starts taking his/her first food between 4-6 months of age. The prevention of food allergy can start from there itself. Earlier parents used to delay introducing the most allergenic foods, but the medical and scientific research fraternity now encourages early and regular exposure. They agree that highly allergic foods should be given for the time between 4 and 11 months and then repeated three times every week. This helps in reducing the risk of food allergy. Delaying the introduction of allergic foods may enhance the risk of developing food allergies.
If you are in Delhi and have concerns about food allergy risk factors you may talk things over with the best pediatrician in Delhi NCR. You can also discuss introducing the first foods to their babies with the pediatrician.
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