Kids Food Allergies – A Guide For Parents

Keeping your kids safe from food allergies as they are growing up is a required task as a parent. Moreover not knowing what they are allergic to would be making you more anxious. Your worst nightmare would be your child being offered something at school which they are allergic to, but the young ones would be tempted to try out when in the company of their friends.

“Hey, do you want some brownie? Maybe just one little bite? Your kid is allergic to peanuts. That’s a real nightmare!

Therefore identifying the allergies and being better prepared is a crucial duty as a parent.

These foods cause the most food allergies:

  • peanuts and other nuts
  • Seafood (eg; shrimp)
  • Milk (eg; cow’s milk)
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

What Is a Food Allergy?

Food allergies happen when the immune system makes a mistake. Normally, your immune system protects you from germs and disease. It does this by making antibodies that help you fight off bacteria, viruses, and other tiny organisms that can make you sick. But if you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly treats something in food as if it’s really dangerous to you.

The same sort of thing happens with any allergy, whether it’s a medicine (like penicillin), pollen in the air (from grasses, weeds, and trees), or a food, like peanuts. So the thing itself isn’t harmful, but the way your body reacts to it is.

What’s a Food Allergy Reaction Like?

If a kid with a peanut allergy would have eaten that peanut-topped brownie, here’s what would happen. Antibodies to something in the food would the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream. This then causes symptoms that affect a person’s eyes, nose, throat, respiratory system, skin, and digestive system. A person with a food allergy could have a mild reaction or it could be more severe. An allergic reaction could happen right away or a few hours after the person eats it.

Some of the first signs that a child may have if an allergic reaction could be:

  • a runny nose
  • an itchy skin rash
  • or tingling in the tongue or lips
  • tightness in the throat
  • hoarse voice
  • wheezing
  • cough
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • belly pain
  • diarrhea

What Will the Doctor Do?

If you think your child may be allergic t a particular food, please ensure you will take them to a doctor to get it checked out.

If your doctor thinks they might have a food allergy, he or she will probably send you to see a specialist doctor who specializes in allergies. The allergy specialist (called an allergist) will ask you about past reactions and how long it takes between eating the food and getting the symptom (such as hives). The allergist also may ask about whether anyone else in your family has allergies or other allergy-related conditions, such as eczema or asthma.

The allergist might want to do a skin test or blood sample to determine the allergic reactions further.

How Are Food Allergies Treated?

There is no special medicine for food allergies. Some can be outgrown, others will last a kid’s whole life. The best treatment is to avoid the food itself and any foods or drinks that contain the food.

One way to figure that out is to read food labels. Any foods that might cause an allergic reaction will be listed near or in the ingredient list. Some people who are very sensitive may need to avoid foods just because they are made in the same factory that also makes their problem food. You may have seen some candy wrappers that say the candy was made in a factory that processes nuts too.

Have a Plan

No matter how hard you try, your kid may eat the wrong thing by accident. Stay calm and follow your emergency plan. What’s an emergency plan? Before a slip-up happens, it’s a good idea to create a plan with your doctor. The plan should spell out what to do, who to tell, and which medicines to take if they have a reaction.

This is especially important if you have a food allergy that can cause a serious reaction (anaphylaxis).

Living With Food Allergies

Having a food allergy is a drag, but it doesn’t need to slow a kid down. But what if something your kid really likes turns out to be on their “do not eat” list? Today, so many people have food allergies that companies have created lots of good substitutes for favorite foods, everything from dairy-free mashed potatoes to wheat-free chocolate chunk cookies!

Visit our pharmacy to get more advice on allergies and medications from our experts!