How To Spot And Help To Prevent Food Allergies In Children

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Children who live in cities are more likely to have food allergies than those who live in rural communities

Introduce new foods to your baby gradually and watch out for any signs of food allergies which can include hives, skin rashes and vomiting.

One of the greatest pleasures of parenthood is marking your kids’ development through phases of their feeding. But moving on to solids can also pose a concern for parents worried about food allergies.

And while a recently published studies may have found that city children are more likely to have food allergies than those who live in rural communities, moving the whole family to live in the countryside because of a child’s allergies is hardly an option.

Here are some tips compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and on how to identify and prevent food allergies in kids.

Start introducing new foods one at a time, so you can identify any adverse reactions. Wait about three to five days before adding a different item so you can gauge any symptoms of food allergies.

Allergic reactions will appear quickly, within minutes to a few hours.

Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • hives
  • flushed skin, rash
  • face, tongue or lip swelling
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • coughing, wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

But not all of the symptoms mean your child has a food allergy. Diarrhea or vomiting, for instance, could point to food poisoning, while skin irritation can be caused by acids in foods like orange juice or tomato products.

The difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is that while an allergy involves the immune system and can be fatal, an intolerance simply signals trouble digesting a particular food.

The most common allergenic foods include:

  • cow milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • soy
  • wheat
  • nuts from trees (walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews)
  • fish (tuna, salmon, cod)
  • shellfish (shrimp, lobster)

There is some evidence that early exposure to these foods could be beneficial and prevent the onset of allergies in kids. Some experts, however, still advise waiting until the child is older — anywhere from 10 months to the age of 3 — before introducing them to most common allergens like shellfish and peanuts.

There is also evidence that the correct gut bacteria from birth can reduce allergenic symptoms especially infantile eczema.

Get immediate, emergency help if the baby is having trouble breathing, or develops swelling or severe vomiting and diarrhea after eating.

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