Could It Be a Food Allergy?
It seems almost like food allergies are status symbols in today’s society because they are so widespread. I swear, every time I talk to someone they have given up this or that because they have an allergy.
My teenage daughter has decided to tell everyone she is allergic to peanuts because she doesn’t like them.
There are major differences between food allergies and food sensitivities.
People with food allergies have certain reactions to certain foods, and these can be life threatening.
If you suspect a food allergy is the culprit for your child’s health problem, talk to your health care provider immediately – or at least before they have that food again.
Any kind of allergy happens when the body reacts against harmless substances like pollen.
In cases of food allergies, your child’s body is reacting to proteins found in certain foods that are harmless to most people. Some kids even react to the smell or by the food coming in contact with their skin.
Food allergies can develop over time and the more times a child is exposed to the allergen, the more severe the allergy can get.
If your ten year old has eaten strawberries every single summer and then all of a sudden develops hives after eating them, it could very well be an newly developed allergy to strawberries.
Doctors say that in a true food allergy, a reaction will occur within an hour after a child eats the food he is allergic to.
Symptoms of a food allergy can vary in intensity but generally show up as one of the following:
- Itchy rash
- Loss of consciousness
- Pale skin
- Tightness in the throat
That isn’t to say that some children aren’t sensitive to certain foods, especially additives and dyes. In these cases it isn’t the immune system that is causing the problem, but another system in the body.
Food sensitivities are not life threatening and don’t usually cause things like breathing problems.
For example, lactose intolerance occurs when a person has difficulty digesting the lactose in dairy product. It can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea but it won’t cause hives or swelling in the throat.
Red dyes can increase symptoms of ADHD and other similar problems, but it is unlikely that your child will lose consciousness by ingesting it.
Food sensitivities can cause behavioral problems to become more severe, can cause migraines, and may even cause digestive problems.
The foods that children are most commonly allergic to are:
- Fish – including shellfish
- Soy based foods
These obviously aren’t the only foods that can cause an allergic reaction, but they are the most common.
The only way to find out for sure if a child is allergic to a food is by medical tests that measure your child’s reaction to the food.
These shouldn’t be done randomly, but if you suspect your child may be allergic to something, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
Keep a record of what your child eats and any reaction you think he may have, and discuss the possibility of allergies with your doctor.