Warning Signs of Food Allergies in Children
More than 40% of kids, 1 in 13, are known to have food allergies that cause allergic reactions. If you suspect your child has a food allergy, it is vital to recognize warning signs of an allergic reaction and be prepared to react accordingly. A food allergy commonly causes a reaction up to 60 minutes after eating a particular food.
To understand food allergies, recognize the warning signs of food allergies in children, and determine if your child may be having an allergic reaction, here are 6 important questions to ask yourself:
1. What is a food allergy?
“A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to a harmless food protein—an allergen. Food allergies in children are different from food intolerances, and food allergy symptoms overlap with symptoms of other medical conditions.” It is important to note that if you suspect your child has a food allergy or food intolerance, check with your healthcare provider or allergist to specify if your child has an intolerance or an allergy.
2. What are common food allergies?
While there are around 170 common foods that are known to cause allergic reactions, there are eight main foods that are known to produce the most severe reactions as well as have the most widespread effect on the population. These eight foods are known as “The Big 8.”
The Big 8
- Tree nuts
3. What are the warning signs of food allergies in children?
Common warning signs of food allergies in children:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching, or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, nasal congestion, or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Overall discomfort
Severe warning signs of food allergies in children that may lead to anaphylaxis:
- Constriction and tightening of the airways
- A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death. If you believe your child is having a severe allergic reaction to food, call 911 immediately and request an ambulance that supplies epinephrine.
4. What should I do if I suspect my child is having an allergic reaction to food?
If you believe your child is having a minor allergic reaction to food, monitor the situation closely and act accordingly. Giving your child over-the-counter relief medications such as Benadryl will help relieve the symptoms. Make sure they stay hydrated and monitor them to ensure their symptoms are improving and not worsening.
4 steps to take if your child is experiencing anaphylaxis:
- Inject Epinephrine (an Epi-pen) immediately
- Call 911- request an ambulance that also supplies Epinephrine
- Lay the child flat and raise their legs. If your child is vomiting or having difficulty breathing, sit them up or lie them on their side
- Consider using an antihistamine or an inhaler (if your child has asthma) after injecting epinephrine
5. If my child had a reaction to one specific food, what should I do next?
Whether you are certain or uncertain your child had an allergic reaction to a specific food or food group, it is important to consider taking them to an allergist to get them tested for food allergies. It is quite common for a child to have more than one food allergy, and it is important to ensure their next reaction is prevented or more subtle than the first. Depending on the food allergy your child may have, your allergist may recommend using a supplemental formula to ensure your child is meeting all their nutritional needs.
6. How can I manage my child’s food allergies?
Consult with your doctor on the steps to take for your child’s food allergy. Although your common day-to-day meal routines may alter a little, Managing Food Allergies in Children is achievable.
If your doctor recommends an oral supplement to assist with your child’s food allergies, please reach out to us! Sentido has a wide selection of formulas to meet all your child’s needs. Our on-call staff is more than happy to help you. To contact Sentido simply:
- Text or call us at (713) 955-2123
- Or submit a contact form HERE