Food allergies in children and teenagers

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Food allergies in children and teenagers

Allergies in children are of much concern to parents and seasonal allergies in kids do crop up which require treatment. Common child allergies do need adequate attention.

In case a person suffers from a food allergy, one’s immune system does react to a particular food when the food does enter one’s body. This food is known as an allergen. Allergies in children are of much concern to parents.

One’s immune system does tend to react by releasing histamine and other substances into one’s body’s tissues. This does lead to the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Even tiny amounts of the food that a person is allergic can cause an allergic reaction. Some reactions can happen immediately, and others do happen several hours later. Seasonal allergies in kids cannot be ignored or taken lightly.

Allergic reactions are common. But most reactions are not severe and deaths are extremely rare.

Immediate-onset food allergies: symptoms

The symptoms of immediate-onset food allergies do usually appear within a few minutes. But sometimes symptoms can indeed appear 1-2 hours after a child has eaten the required food.

Mild to moderate symptoms of immediate-onset food allergies include:

  • swollen lips, face, or eyes
  • skin reactions like redness, hives, or eczema
  • tingling or itchy mouth
  • vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea
  • nose congestion.

A severe allergic reaction is referred to as anaphylaxis, and it can also happen immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis do include:

  • breathing difficulties or noisy breathing
  • tongue swelling or throat tightness
  • a wheeze or persistent cough
  • difficulty talking or a hoarse voice
  • persistent dizziness or fainting
  • paleness and floppiness (in young children)

Anaphylaxis happens to be a life-threatening allergic reaction and does require immediate medical attention. 

Delayed-onset food allergies: symptoms

The symptoms of delayed-onset food allergies do appear more than 2-4 hours after a child does come into contact with the food. Sometimes symptoms do appear many hours later.

Symptoms of delayed-onset food allergies do include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating as well as stomach cramps. Occasionally, there might be mucus or blood in the poo.

Delayed-onset allergies are not usually life-threatening.

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Common food allergies

The most common food allergies are:

  • cow’s milk
  • hen’s eggs
  • soybeans
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts like cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts
  • sesame
  • wheat
  • fish
  • shellfish

Diagnosing food allergies in children

In case the child has a food allergy, then it is better to consult one’s doctor. The general physician may refer a person to an allergy or immunology specialist for further checks and tests.

Immediate-onset food allergies

Tests for immediate-onset allergies include the following:

  • Skin-prick test:

The child’s skin gets pricked with a special device that does look a bit like a toothpick and that does contain a drop of a specific allergen. If a hive does come up where one’s child’s skin has been pricked, the child probably has an allergy.

  • Blood tests:

The serum specific IgE antibody test makes use of the child’s blood to see whether the child is sensitive to specific allergens. If the child’s blood has a high amount of antibodies, and he probably has an allergy. The child can go in for this test if he cannot have skin-prick testing.

  • Oral food challenge:

Sometimes the child will be given the possible allergen in a safe, supervised setting. Medical and nursing staff will indeed watch to see whether an allergic reaction does happen. This test does carry a risk of anaphylaxis and therefore needs to be conducted only by medical specialists in a setting where anaphylaxis can be safely and quickly treated.

Delayed-onset food allergies

If the child has a delayed-onset food allergy, a diagnosis does usually happens via an elimination and re-challenge’ test. 

Common child allergies are true of much concern to parents. 

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