November 21, 2011 | in Nanny
Food allergies and tolerance problems can develop over time, but they often present during childhood. Intolerance of certain food can cause great discomfort, and many allergies can be potentially fatal. If you’re introducing new foods into your child’s diet, these are ten of the most commonly problematic items.
- Dairy – Cow’s milk is the most common allergen affecting infants under a year old, with an estimated two out of every hundred infants suffering from allergic reactions. Generally speaking, most children outgrow this sensitivity with time; nine out of ten are no longer affected by the age of three.
- Shellfish – Though adults are more likely to have a shellfish allergy than children, it’s still important to keep an eye on your child after they have a meal that includes this potentially life-threatening allergen.
- Wheat – One of the more common food allergies to affect children, wheat can also be found in foods you wouldn’t suspect. The best possible treatment for a wheat allergy is to avoid exposure, but medication is available to manage the symptoms of a reaction following accidental exposure.
- Tree Nuts – Unlike allergies that some children can outgrow, a tree nut allergy is likely to remain an issue for allergic children for the rest of their lives. Exposure to tree nuts can cause severe and even fatal symptoms.
- Preservatives – Common emulsifiers and stabilizers used in food production as a preservative can cause allergic reactions. Lecithin, certain varieties of gum, benzoates and sorbates can all be potential allergens that are lurking in pre-packaged food items.
- Eggs – Like cow’s milk, a childhood allergy to eggs is rather common, and is typically outgrown. Severe egg allergies can develop in childhood and persist throughout adulthood, but these forms are quite rare. Ducks eggs are similar in make-up to those of a hen, and should be avoided as well if your child exhibits symptoms of an egg allergy.
- Fish – It is possible to be allergic to fish but not shellfish, and vice versa. Fish allergies are more common in children than the shellfish variety, and can be just as dangerous. It’s important to be diligent about reading labels; fish products can show up in unsuspected places.
- Peanuts – A peanut allergy can be severe enough that a trace amount on a shared food preparation surface will cause a reaction. While not all children who suffer from a peanut allergy are so sensitive, it’s best to be overly-cautious in this area. This highly allergenic food can cause very intense reactions, including anaphylaxis.
- Soybeans – Often, the first indicator of a soy allergy is a reaction to soy-based infant formula. Like many other childhood allergies, it’s outgrown more often than not. While the symptoms of a soy allergy are typically mild, it can lead to anaphylaxis in very rare cases.
- Food Additives – When children exhibit allergic reactions to a wide variety of unrelated food items, the most likely culprit is an allergy or intolerance to food additives such as dyes or flavorings.
Most allergists rely on intradermal or scratch testing to detect food allergies, but there are other methods available. Blood tests are more effective when it comes to detecting hidden food sensitivities, so discuss your child’s testing options with their pediatrician.
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