As a parent, you are constantly worrying about your child. You want to keep them as safe as possible from lurking dangers, but you also want to give them space to grow and thrive on their own. It’s difficult to try and find a balance, especially when there may be dangers that you’re not even aware of. Food allergies can be a serious problem, especially if they fall into the category of the top eight allergens. Unfortunately, they may be difficult to determine until it’s a problem. In today’s post, we will provide you with a few symptoms you can look for that may give an indication that your child has a food allergy.
When you have a food allergy, it can be extremely difficult to find a wide selection of foods that don’t contain the substance you’re allergic too. It can be even more difficult for parents who have a child with a food allergy. Luckily, at Beyond the Equator, our 5 Seed Butter is made without any traces of the top eight allergens, allowing you and your little ones to eat it without worry. Find out more about our nut-butter alternatives, and order your 5 Seed Butter today!
What Causes a Food Allergy?
Many people are under the impression that their child can have an allergic reaction to a food the very first time that they eat it, but that is incorrect. A food allergy is the body’s abnormal response to certain foods, but an allergic reaction only occurs when a child has already been previously exposed to the food.
This can be extremely confusing, especially if your little one is eating solid food for the very first time. However, if the baby was breastfed and the mother ate the food before feeding her baby, then the baby would have been exposed.
Food Allergy vs. Food IntoleranceFood allergies and food intolerances are often confused, especially in children and adults who cannot eat gluten. When you have a food allergy, it triggers a response from your immune system. When the substance is consumed, IgE antibodies are released, and you experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Itching in the mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Stomach pains
A food intolerance, on the other hand, may result in some of the symptoms listed above, but it doesn’t affect the immune system. Instead, your body has problems breaking down the sugars in the food, which results in gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and in rare cases, an itchy rash.
Food Allergy ReactionsThere are four main areas that are affected during an allergic reaction. These areas are:
- Respiratory system – The person will exhibit signs of wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing. They may also have a runny or stuffy nose.
- Skin – During an allergic reaction, the skin may start to develop itchy, red bumps. The person may also experience some swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or mouth.
- Cardiovascular system – An allergic reaction may affect the cardiovascular system, causing the person to faint or feel lightheaded.
- Gastrointestinal tract – Pain in the stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are also symptoms that one may experience during an allergic reaction.
How Is an Allergic Reaction Diagnosed in Children?
If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, then the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your family doctor. From there, the doctor will need to examine your little one and ask you a series of questions in order to determine whether or not their symptoms are consistent with a food allergy. However, if your child is having a severe reaction, contact medical emergency personnel or take your child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
During your appointment, your doctor will ask about the symptoms your child experiences when they eat a certain food, how often that reaction occurs, how long it takes for your little one to react, and whether or not there is a family history of this problem. Your doctor may also run additional tests for lactose intolerance or celiac disease, depending on the symptoms your child is experiencing.
Your doctor may send you to an allergist if your child is showing signs of a potential food allergy. The allergist will ask more in-depth questions to help determine whether or not your child has a food allergy. Additionally, the allergist may perform a skin test, where they will place liquid extracts of the allergen on your child’s skin to see how it reacts.
Gradually Identify Any Food Allergies
If your child is still young and just beginning to experience real food, then it’s important to introduce new substances gradually. As we mentioned above, a child will need to be exposed to a new food once prior to an allergic reaction, so if you’re feeding your little one new foods, then they may not show signs of an allergy at first. When giving your baby new foods for the first time, try to limit the number of different foods you give them to try. If you give them three or four different foods throughout the day, and they end up having an allergic reaction, then you may have a difficult time distinguishing which food they are allergic to.