Food allergies are not uncommon in children. Here at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers, part of the history we do at each visit is a way to rule out food allergies as a cause of any symptoms your child may be experiencing.
An allergy occurs when the immune system “mistakes” a common substance to be harmful and attacks with the body’s own chemical and cellular weapons. Symptoms may range from mild to severe or even life-threatening. Once an allergy is suspected, it is important to identify what food is causing it via testing.
Organs Commonly Involved
If your child develops food allergies, symptoms may appear in any of these areas:
- Skin – rashes, swelling, hives (raised red welts)
- Lungs and respiratory tract – wheezing, sneezing, throat swells up
- Stomach and digestive tract – diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
- Circulation – paleness, light-headedness, passing out
Common Food Culprits
These foods are the most common offenders:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts (walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews)
Most severe reactions are caused by allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and seafood.
Treatment of Food Allergies
Our pediatricians or an allergist can perform allergy testing to determine which foods may be causing the allergic symptoms. Some allergies are more obvious, and between you and our pediatricians you can predict which food it is and withhold it. Once a food is identified, you should take precautions to be sure your child does not eat it. If your child has experienced a severe allergic reaction to a food, we’ll advise you on ways to inform teachers, family, and friends to help your child avoid contact with that food. We will also advise you on how to handle a situation if your child does suffer a severe reaction, and for some children we will prescribe an auto-injectable medication to keep on hand for emergencies.
Do Food Allergies Last a Lifetime?
Fortunately, many children outgrow their food allergies in early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 80-90% of egg, milk, wheat, and soy allergies disappear by age five. We will continue to monitor your children’s allergies as they grow to determine which are going away and which will persist into their later years.