December 6, 2012 by thehealthyheartcenter
What is a food allergy? This is an abnormal response to a certain food triggered by your body’s immune system. How does this work? The function of our immune systems is to protect us against germs and disease; for those that have a food allergy, your immune system mistakes something in a certain food as if it is a danger to the body. Why is this important? Some food allergies could cause small respiratory difficulties, stomach pains, or diarrhea, while others are life-threatening and may lead to anaphylaxis (most deadly of symptoms).
90% of food allergies in children are caused by six common foods:
1. Milk: Cow’s milk is of the most common sensitivities in young children most likely because it is the first forgein protein that many infants ingest in large amount, especially if bottle-fed. Vomiting after feeding is the most common symptom, however colic, gassiness, and crying can be as well.
-The good news in this circumstance is many children outgrow a milk allergy as their immune systems mature. Your pediatrician will probably suggest having a test performed before trying milk again.
2. Eggs: This type of allergy is causing a reaction primarily from the protein in the egg white. However, because egg yolk can be contaminated with the white, it’s best to keep them away from egg-allergic children altogether. Egg substitues can also not be used as an alternative. Be sure to watch for hidden egg ingredients such as egg-based coatings, especially on breads and fried foods.
3. Nuts: Because peanuts are acactualy a legume, not a nut, it is not uncommon for a child who is sensitive to peanuts be able to eat walnuts, pecans and other tree nuts without a problem. However, caution is needed because peanut-allergic children, for unknown reasons, are more likely also to have a separate tree-nut allergy.
-Peanuts, although generally easy to avoid, can sometimes show up in foods when least expected. They are often ground up and used as bulking agents in food products; therefore, it is imperative that you not only read labels carefully, but that you also question the content of food prepared and consumed at locations other than your own.
4. Soy: Babies fed soy formula, like that of cow’s milk, can develop a rash, runny nose, wheezing, diarrhea, or vomiting from allergy to the soy protein. When changing to a soy formula, some infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are found to also be allergic to soy.
5. Wheat and gluten: There are 2 types of negative immune reactions to wheat. The first is classic food allergy, with symptoms such as hives or wheezing that occur immediately after eating a food made with wheat. The second is celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. In a sensitive child, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine and interferes with nutrient absorption. This damage can go undetected for some time. Typical symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, poor weight gain, and slow growth.
It’s important to remember that even though the doctor tests for food allergies by exposing you to a very small amount of the food, you should not try this at home! The best place for an allergy test is at the doctor’s office, where the staff is specially trained and could give you medicine right away if you had a serious reaction. The best treatment is simply to avoid the food itself and any foods or drinks that contain the food.