March 3, 2010

Food Allergies in Children And Teenager

Posted in Category : Child Health

Most people believe that food allergies in children are quite common but this isn’t so. Only 2 per cent of children suffer from food allergies, and about 5 per cent to 8 per cent of younger children are affected. Most children outgrow these food allergies by the time they are 3 yrs old but not all do. Food allergies happen as a result of exaggerated reactions of the child’s immune system towards certain substances that are otherwise harmless for the human body. The food substances which trigger such reactions are called allergens. A variety of symptoms are seen when a child is suffering an allergy and comes into contact with the allergen.

Some of the symptoms seen are hives, itchy skin rashes, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling of the mouth and around the throat, nausea, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing. These symptoms can show up in minutes or even an hour after exposure to the allergen. The symptoms seen may be mild or severe depending on the amount of exposure and also on how allergic the child is towards that substance. If the symptoms are severe, it can also result in decreased blood pressure, shock or even death. There are some common foods causing allergies in children. Some of these foods are cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat and tree nuts such as walnuts.

Since quite a lot of allergies can turn severe or even fatal, it is best advised not to use any home remedies for children. Children are very sensitive and hence it is important that a doctor be consulted as soon as the symptoms start showing. Although it is not safe to try any remedies on children, the least one can do is take measures to prevent food allergies. Preventing food allergies in kids is easier if there is a strong family history of food allergies. You can get your children tested for allergies with the help of tests such as an elimination diet test, RAST test, skin prick and skin patch test, and blood eosinophils test. In case parents already know the allergy triggering food, make sure that you never let your child consume even a small amount of it. Remember that many food allergens come hidden in sauces, baked goods, ice creams and other such foods. Hence always read food labels carefully. While eating out, alert the food staff about children’s allergies. Thus, if proper measures are taken food allergies can be avoided.