Posts Tagged ‘Food Allergies’

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Food allergy education: 6 things you need to know for your child

A common question asked among many parents is: How do I know if my child has a food allergy? Something we hear often. We know prevention is the best form of cure, and we would rather prevent our little ones from having a reaction we cannot control in the first place. So, when they’re ready for solids, it’s important to introduce different food varieties little by little in order to rule out any allergies.

1. So, what are food allergies exactly?

When our immune system sees food as an invader, it triggers an allergic reaction. Our bodies are designed to routinely fight infections, and in the case of a food allergy our body reacts in a similar way. Instead of fighting off a cold or a flu, our body is attempting to protect us from a particular food, and a food allergy develops.

2. Who is at risk?

Anyone is potentially at risk of developing a food allergy. However, if either parent has allergies there is a higher likelihood of the child developing a food allergy. Even if previous reactions have been mild, it’s important to remain vigilant as anyone with a food allergy is potentially at risk of the next reaction being more severe or even life-threatening.

Individuals with a food allergy are usually recommended to avoid the problem food/s altogether.

3. What are the most common food allergies?

Any food may cause an allergic reaction in children as well as adults. These are the most common allergens known to cause 90% of all reactions in kids:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts and cashews)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish (such as shrimp)
  • Sesame

4. What is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction is your immune system responding to a food that it does not agree with. This stimulates the body to release chemicals such as histamines. Reactions can be mild or severe; and as we know, a person can have a severe reaction to a food even if they have only experienced mild reactions previously. Allergic reactions can produce different symptoms, including:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Throat tightness
  • Belly pain
  • Vomiting (the most common in infants)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • Hives (the most common in infants)
  • Red spots
  • Swelling
  • Light-headedness or loss of consciousness (passing out)

In some cases, allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.

5. What is a food intolerance?

It is often the case that food allergies are confused with food intolerances. The symptoms of food intolerances are far less severe than food allergies. Symptoms can include burping, indigestion, gas, loose stools, headaches, or nervousness.

Food intolerances do not involve the immune system and can occur if you simply do not chew your food properly or because you can’t digest a substance, such as lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be unpleasant; however they aren’t usually dangerous or life threatening in the same way that allergies can be.

6. Receiving a diagnosis

Our fantastic Adelaide Paediatrics’ Allergy Team provides diagnosis and treatment for issues such as:

  • Environmental Allergies
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Skin prick testing
  • Immunotherapy
  • Dietitian support & advice
  • Food & drug challenges

We have an amazing team working across Allergy and Immunology including Dr Henning Johannsen, Dr Leigh Mackey, Dr Melissa Norman and Dr Christine Ziegler, and allergy dietitians Laura Ryan and Rachel George providing services at several locations.

For a little more information, you can directly reach out to us HERE

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