How to spot and prevent food allergies in kids
LOS ANGELES, June 10 — 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 study may have found that city kids are more likely to have food allergies than kids who live in rural communities, shipping 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, WebMD.com and babycenter.com 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 diarrhoea;
- coughing, wheezing;
- difficulty breathing; and
- loss of consciousness.
— But not all of the symptoms mean your child has a food allergy. Diarrhoea 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;
- nuts from trees (walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews);
- fish (tuna, salmon, cod); and
- 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 three — before introducing them to most common allergens like shellfish and peanuts.
— Infants younger than 12 months should not be given cow’s milk as the proteins can irritate the stomach.
— Get immediate, emergency help if the baby is having trouble breathing, or develops swelling or severe vomiting and diarrhoea after eating.
— One of the best ways to prevent food allergies in babies is to breastfeed. — AFP/Relaxnews