Food Allergies – Signs and Symptoms

If your child has trouble breathing or gets hives after eating, then she may have a life threatening food allergy.

In children, particularly young ones, intolerance to certain foods is fairly common. But actual food allergies, when the body’s immune system reacts to certain foods, are rare, effecting only one to three percent of the population. Nonetheless, food allergies can be dangerous and even life threatening.

Allergist Dr. John Dean explains some of the signs of a true food allergy. “Possible signs of a food allergy are severe eczema, swelling around the mouth, in the mouth, vomiting, maybe coughing & wheezing. (It occurs) often with certain foods particularly peanuts, raw eggs, sometimes milk, soya, shellfish and nuts, when these children ingest the food.”

If your child has a food allergy, there are two main concerns. First and foremost is that the child avoids the food that he or she is allergic to. The second concern is that parents work closely with a specialist to ensure that their child has an adequate diet explains allergy specialist, Dr. Edward Hein. “For children with food allergies, it’s a very good idea to work with a physician and to also talk to a dietitian or nutritionist in order to make sure that the diet is adequate so that the child will grow and develop normally.”

Once your child has been tested and the food allergy is confirmed, then it’s vital that he or she is well informed of what food he or she is allergic to and that this food is avoided without exception says Dr. Dean. “If your child has been identified as having a specific food allergy, it’s absolute avoidance. You cannot smuggle food, so any food that contains that food product such as milk solids in a hot dog has to be avoided.”

Dr. Dean hastens to add that it’s imperative anyone in regular contact with your child such as teachers and caregivers know just what to do if your child ingests the wrong stuff. Part of that game plan may include adrenalin. “If anyone has any major problem in their throat, difficulty swallowing or speaking, adrenalin is the only safe drug to use, and obviously you go straight to hospital,” says Dean. It’s recommended that children with food allergies carry a special emergency kit that contains a shot of adrenalin.

If you suspect your child has a true food allergy, then have her seen by a physician so testing can be arranged. Food allergies can be life threatening and therefore, must be taken seriously.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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