A food allergy is an adverse reaction of the immune system
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for any, even small, amount of a particular food product. This reaction occurs every time when used in the food product. It is important to distinguish food allergies from food intolerances, which does not affect the immune system, although it has similar symptoms.
The difference between food allergy and food intolerance is that first triggers an immune response that leads to a child's symptoms (some of which may pose a threat to his life), and the second does not affect the immune system, although it is accompanied by the same symptoms .
Although food allergies are rare, they are most common among children aged up to four years.
The most common causative agents of food allergies in children are:
- Fish and seafood;
- nuts (especially peanuts);
- citrus fruits;
Eggs, milk, peanuts - these are the most common "culprits" of food allergies in children
Allergies in children - how to help your child?
. The most severe allergic reaction causing all the same peanuts, nuts, fish and shellfish. In infants occurs most often allergic to milk and soy. According to statistics, food allergies are subject to 2-4% of children. Although most children "outgrow" allergies, allergies to peanuts, nuts, and shellfish may persist for life.
Symptoms of food allergy in children
Food allergy symptoms appear within several minutes (up to one hour) after the meal. Food allergies in children is characterized by the following symptoms:
- severe form of eczema or skin rash;
- vomiting and diarrhea without apparent reason;
- asthmatic bronchitis
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- allergic rhinitis (itchy, watery eyes, watery discharge
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from the nose);
- swelling of the mucous;
- itching and burning of the lips, tongue or oral;
- shortness of breath, difficulty in swallowing;
- lowering of blood pressure.
It was found that consumption of even a small amount of allergen can trigger a severe allergic reaction, such as consumption of just 1/44 000 of the peanuts causes an allergic reaction, requiring hospitalization.
Symptoms of food allergy may resemble the clinical picture of other conditions or diseases. Always consult your pediatrician for diagnosis and not self-medicate.
How to start a food allergy
For the development of food allergies is necessary that the child has already tasted the food-allergen at least once (sensitization can also occur through breastfeeding, when an allergen enters the body of a child with his mother's milk). Allergic symptoms occur when the child tries to eat a second time. When produced by the body IgE antibodies react with the food, there is the release of histamine, which leads to the appearance of allergy symptoms - rash, difficulty breathing, itching in the mouth, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
Almost a third of parents exclude from the diet of children, some products because of fears of an allergic reaction. However, as mentioned above, food allergy observed only in 2-4% of children, and most of them outgrow allergies to three years.
Who is at risk
Allergic diseases type 1, which relates to a food allergy to some extent depend on genetic predisposition. If a food allergy suffers from at least one of the parents, it is likely that the allergy will have a child.
What to do if you suspect a food allergy
- As soon as possible consult a physician.
- Do not limit your child's diet, exclude from the diet all "suspicious" products - it can lead to malnutrition and nutrient deficiency.
- Regime change in stool consistency and bowel movements are not a symptom of a food allergy.
- Most importantly - do not panic. Do not assume that your child suffers from food allergies as long as the diagnosis is not confirmed by a specialist.
How to treat food allergy
The only and the main treatment for food allergies - complete exclusion from the diet-product of the allergen. In rare cases, even a small consumption amount of allergen may cause anaphylactic shock (severe respiratory insufficiency and heart) which leads to collapse.
Anaphylactic shock requires immediate treatment - introduction of adrenaline, so you should seek immediate medical attention if you notice that the baby begins to choke. In severe allergic reactions in children it is recommended to always have on hand a special first aid kit with a syringe loaded with adrenaline.
It is also important to include in the diet menu baby vitamins and minerals if it can consume them in physical form (eg, protein-rich eggs, milk).
How to prevent the development of food allergies
The development of food allergies can not be prevented, but in infants it is possible to delay the start, if you execute the following recommendations:
- for the opportunity to continue to breast-feed the baby breast milk for up to six months.
- do not let the baby solid food until he is at least six months.
- do not let the baby cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, fish during the first year of life.
How to live with food allergies: Five Tips
Learning to live with food allergies - no easy task that requires effort, not only by children but also by parents. We hope these tips will help you cope with this problem:
- Teach yourself to carefully read the information on the packaging of products. For example, children who suffer from an allergy to eggs should avoid not only the eggs but also to all products containing eggs, such as mayonnaise. Therefore it is very important to train yourself (or your child) to read the product labeling. Allergens may be included in the most unexpected products, and the only way to learn about the possible dangers - read the list of ingredients.
- Teach your child and his teacher immediately recognize an allergic reaction. Since you can not be all the time with your child, it is important that the baby itself and the surrounding adults were constantly prepared for an allergic reaction and were able at a glance to recognize its symptoms.
- Do not allow your child to change breakfast with the other guys. At school, children are often tempted to share a sandwich or homemade breakfast with a friend, so your task - to teach the child not to give in to this temptation. Eventually, the observance of food hygiene - the only way to insure against allergies.
- Carry your medication. Carefully follow the instructions of your doctor and always carry medications in case of an unexpected allergic reaction.
- Involve your child in the selection of products and cooking. The child is difficult to refrain from eating such delicacies like peanut butter, jelly or cakes and sweets, so try to bring the child to find the products that he loves and that does not harm him - so he will have less to think about what is not allowed.