When you become a parent, worrying is a part of your regular routine. You constantly stress about everything your little one does - and rightfully so.
But as you baby quickly becomes a toddler, you enter into a whole new level of worrying! Now, they are fully moving little people who can jump, climb and throw themselves into the ground. Yay....
You also have a whole new potential problem to be concerned about - food allergies.
Not going to lie - food allergies in kids are probably one of the scariest things about parenthood. Not only because of the physical problems that can happen to your child, but the emotional stress and worry it can cause for parents can be overwhelming. No parent wants to have to constantly worry about their child having an allergic reaction when they are not in the home. And it can be hard to find allergy-free foods and supplements that your child can tolerate!
Now in some cases, you may see the signs of a food allergy early on when your child is still a baby. Especially if you are not breastfeeding and feed baby formula to your child. That is usually when you can see an allergic reaction to foods such as dairy or soy.
But in other cases, a food allergy may not rear its ugly head until your child reaches the toddler stages. This is usually because your child is now being exposed to a much wider variety of food. Makes sense, right?
According to recent studies, the tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down through genes from parents to their kids. So, if you are allergic to shrimp, there is a good chance your child may be allergic to shrimp too. But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might have allergies doesn't mean that all of your kids will definitely get them!
Unfortunately, food allergies do occur in up to 8% of children in the United States. And if you are the parent of a child whose life literally depends on not being exposed to a certain food, learning to navigate around them can be a terrifying task.
Hopefully, this blog will give you a better understanding of which foods are more likely to cause an issue and what symptoms to pay attention to.
Foods you should look out for
Now, the truth is children can be allergic to almost any food - even food you wouldn’t think would be a problem. Fruits, vegetables, and even certain meats such as a pork can cause "oral allergy syndrome" or severe reactions in kids. However, there are a few specific foods that cause a majority of allergic reactions in the United States, so make sure you know the hit list:
- Tree nuts
- Crustacean shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc)
Whenever you decided to introduce any of the foods listed about for the first time, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for symptoms of an allergic reaction.
I know, this is a lot to take in, but don’t panic! Remember, the key to managing food allergies in children is knowing the foods to look out for, and then knowing the symptoms of a bad reaction. We are about to dive into that right now :-)
Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Keep in mind the severity of symptoms may vary from one reaction to the next. Your child can experience a mild symptom one day and then have a much more serious allergic reaction the next time they try the same food, such anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening.
A true allergic reaction to food involves symptoms of the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, gut, brain and heart and may include:
- Itchy skin rashes
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Dizziness or fainting
- Shortness of breath, wheezing
- Abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea
If you see that your child is experiencing any of these symptoms after eating or drinking, make sure you seek medical attention immediately.
Food allergies are not something to take lightly, so if you are concerned that your child is developing an allergy or allergies run in the family, please speak to your pediatrician about it so they can give your child the treatment they need.
Does your kid suffer from food allergies?
Share your story with us in the comments!
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
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