How To Identify Food Allergies In Children?
• Know the Symptoms:
The best way to identify food allergies is to know the symptoms. The common symptoms of food allergies include choking, tightening of chest or throat, shortness of breath, dizziness, runny nose, watery eyes, swelling of lips and mouth, itchy throat, sneezing, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, etc. Skin conditions, like itching, rashes or hives also indicate allergy. Food allergy symptoms usually appear within 30 minutes of eating the allergic food. However, it may even take up to six hours for the allergic reaction to take place and hence, keeping a watchful eye always is wiser.
• Know the Common Food Allergens:
In order to identify the food allergies and thereby cure them, it is very important to identify the common food allergens. Common food allergens are nuts (especially peanuts), wheat, eggs, corn, soy, citrus fruits, strawberries, shellfish, milk and dairy products. However, the list may not be limited to just these and may vary from person to person. Therefore, while it is not possible to always know which food your child is exactly allergic to, it helps if you know what the potential allergens are, so that you can identify the problem the moment your child shows any of the food allergy symptoms.
The best way to do so is through the food elimination diet. For this, first, eliminate all the potential allergens from your child’s diet for about a week or till his/her allergy symptoms disappear. Then start reintroducing one allergen at a time, first in small quantities and then in an increased dosage. Wait for a couple of days to see if any symptoms reappear. If it does, you immediately know that your child is allergic to the recently introduced allergen.
• Your Antibodies Hint:
Antibodies are the biggest allergy hints that our body gives. Doing a skin test to determine food allergy is based on this principle. The doctor injects small amounts of several different allergens into your child’s skin, along with a control test. If your child gets antibodies, that is, red or itchy areas, it indicates positive allergic reactions to an allergen. Which allergen caused the reaction is then determined by the doctor and is accordingly treated.
• Seek the Doctor’s Help:
The most authentic way of identifying food allergies in children is to seek the help of an expert – the doctor. While common allergy symptoms are easy to detect, like itching or swelling, others may be quite complex. Therefore, working with your doctor to identify the allergy symptoms are not only the safest but the most effective way to detect the allergy causing foods.
For any problem, if you know the cause, the solution is easy. The same principle applies to food allergy – know the problem well and you will surely know how to solve it. Just keep these basic points of identifying food allergies in children in mind and get rid of them forever.
Photo Courtesy: allergyimmune.com